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Morbidity patterns and its associated factors among school children of an urban slum in Hyderabad, India

Saba Syed, Sukhdas Gangam, Shujauddin Syed, Raghavendra Rao.

Background: More than a billion children now live in cities and towns. Children of the urban slums are denied essentials such as clean water and health care even though they may live closer to these services. Private schools in urban slums do not have any school health programs.

Objective: To study the morbidity patterns among the school children attending private schools in an urban slum; to explore the association of specific morbidities with socioeconomic and demographic factors.

Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional, descriptive study. Five private schools in an urban slum were chosen by cluster sampling technique. A cross-sectional survey to assess the morbidity patterns and its associated factors was conducted with 713 school children aged 415 years.

Result: Overall attendance of the students was 83.5%. Anemia (33.5%), worm infestation (47.4%), dental caries (56.24%), and poor personal hygiene were more prevalent. A significant association was found between socioeconomic and demographic factors such as maternal illiteracy, occupation, hygiene, social class, and so on, and specific morbidities among the study subjects.

Conclusion: Children in urban slums attending private schools have a high prevalence of morbidities. Certain socioeconomic and demographic factors are significantly associated with specific morbidities. Sensitization of all stakeholders and initiating comprehensive school health services with active involvement of parents may be the need of the hour.

Key words: Urban slum, school health, morbidities, socioeconomic factors, demographic factors

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