Access to health care and employment status of people with disabilities in South India, the SIDE (South India Disability Evidence) study.

South India Disability Evidence Study Group, Murthy Venkata S. Gudlavalleti, N. John, K. Allagh, J. Sagar, S. Kamalakannan, S.S. Ramachandra, South India Disability Evidence Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
Data shows that people with disability are more disadvantaged in accessing health, education and employment opportunities compared to people without a disability. There is a lack of credible documented evidence on health care access and barriers to access from India. The South India Disability Evidence (SIDE) Study was undertaken to understand the health needs of people with disabilities, and barriers to accessing health services.

Methods
The study was conducted in one district each in two States (Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka) in 2012. Appropriate age and sex-matched people without a disability were recruited to compare with people with disability who were identified through a population-based survey and available government disability records by trained key informants. These people were then examined by a medical team to confirm the diagnosis. Investigators administered questionnaire schedules to people with and without a disability to harness information on employment and health service access, utilization and barriers.

Results
A total of 839 people with disabilities and 1153 age and sex matched people without a disability, aged 18 years or more were included. People with disability had significantly lower employment rates. On univariate analysis, people with disability (18.4%) needed to visit a hospital significantly more often in the preceding year compared to people without a disability (8.8%) (X 2- 40.0562; P < =0.001). However adjusted odds ratios did not show a statistically significant difference. Significant differences were also observed with respect to past hospitalization. People with disabilities had 4.6 times higher risk of suffering from diabetes and 5.8 times higher risk of suffering from depression compared to people without a disability and the risk was significantly higher in males compared to females with disability. People with disability faced significantly more barriers to accessing health services compared to people without a disability. Barriers included ignorance regarding availability of services, costs of services and transportation.

Conclusions
This study highlights the challenges that people with disability face in accessing health-care and employment opportunities. The study findings have public health implications and should be used for planning need-based appropriate strategies to improve health care access for people with disabilities.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

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