Title : Assessing the Knowledge of Selected Colleges of Vidharbha Region regarding Female Foeticide

Assessing the Knowledge of Selected Colleges of Vidharbha Region regarding Female Foeticide

 

Women who constitute half the human population have been discriminated, ha rassed and exploited irrespective of the country to which they belong, unmindful of the reli-gion which they profess and oblivious of the timeframe in which they live.

Everywhere women are confronted with many challenges. Female foeticide is perhaps one of the worst forms of violence against women where a woman is denied her most basic and fundamental right i.e. “the right to life”. The phenomenon of female foeticide in India is not new, where female embryos or foetuses are selectively aborted after prenatal sex determination, thus eliminating girl child even before they are born. As a result of selective abortion, between 35 and 40 million girls and women are missing from the Indian population. In some parts of the country, the sex ratio of girls to boys has dropped to less than 800:1000. 

Female foetuses are selectively aborted after prenatal sex determination, thus avoiding the birth of girls. A 1997 UNFPA report “India towards Population and Development Goals”, estimates that 48 million women are missing from India’s population.

 

In India a girl is worshiped as a Devi on one hand and denied her existence on other hand as if she has no right to live. One cannot imagine a society in the future in which there will be only males and no females. The society will be full of crimes & evils. This process began in early 1990’s when ultrasound techniques spread widely in India. There was a tendency for families to continuously produce children until a male child was born. The preconception and prenatal diagnostic techniques (PCPNDT) act was passed in 1994, making sex-selective abortion illegal. It was then modi-fied in 2003 holding medical professionals legally responsible. However the PCPNDT act has been poorly enforced by authorities.

Objectives

The objectives of the study were (i) to assess the knowledge regarding female foeticide among under graduate students of selected colleges of Vidharbha region; and (ii) to associate knowledge with selected demographic variables.

Assumption: There is some knowledge regarding female feticide among undergraduate students in selected colleges of Vidarbha Region. 

Inclusion criteria: Undergraduate students knowing Marathi and Hindi language who were available at the time of data collection and were willing to participate in the study. 

Exclusion criteria: Students of health and allied pro-fessional courses, students of sociology or social work as principle subjects and married students.

Methodology

Source of data: Primary data was collected from undergraduate students of selected colleges of Vidharbha region. Research design: It had a descriptive research design. The research approach was survey type.

Samples: UG students of selected colleges in Vidharbha region were included.

Non Probability convenient sampling technique was used; the sample had 300 under graduate students. The tool employed was structured questionnaire.

Review of Literature

 

A descriptive study was conducted to assess the knowledge about decreasing sex ratio and attitude towards female foeticide among 50 pregnant women attend-ing antenatal OPD of a hospital in Ludhiana. A purposive random sampling technique was used in selection of sample. The technique and method used was structured questionnaire. The study revealed that pregnant women between the age group of 21-30 years obtained highest mean attitude score (84.42).

Women with qualification plus two and above scored higher (89.2) as compared to other groups. Hindus scored higher (94.6) as compared to other religions. Mean attitude score was higher (89.0) in 11 house-wives. Women married or 1-9 years scored higher (84.8). Women with family income more than Rs. 10,000 had highest mean attitude score (87.4). Preg-nant women from urban areas had high mean atti-tude score (84.6) as compared to women living in ru-ral areas. Women who watched TV scored higher (92.6) as compared to other information. The study con-cluded that the knowledge level of pregnant women about the decreasing sex ratio and its affects was inadequate. Steps should be taken to educate women to make them aware about the same. 

A study conducted in various districts of Punjab regarding female foeticide among 240 families using stratified random sampling technique, personal interviews as well as a structured questionnaire technique revealed that 44.17 percent of farming respondents and 38.33 percent of nonfarming respondents endorsed the act of female foeticide. Majority of the sample (41.25) approved it under one pretext or another. A considerable percent of the respondents in the sample (37.08) for the study was indifferent towards it. The researcher concluded that majority of the respondents approved of female foeticide under one pretext or the other, with dowry was cited as the main reason behind it.

 community-based crosssectional study was conducted to determine gender inequality while rearing of children in the Mollasimla village of Hooghly district. All children in the age group of 0-59 months were included as study subject. The mothers represented their children as respondents; 116 males and 116 females were registered for the study. A pre-designed and pre-tested, semi-structured interview proforma was used to collect the data. The findings revealed that breastfeeding was initi-ated for 26.7 percent of the males within one hour of their birth compared to 18 percent of the new-born females. The study revealed that 22.4 percent of males and 18.9 percent of the females attended the ICDS centre regularly. A higher percentage of girls when compared to the boys never attended the ICDS centre. The researcher concluded that efforts should be made to have activities for educating mothers; particularly in rural areas mother should have right information on health and nutrition of girl child.

Demographic profile of students is shown in Table

 

Figure 1 depicts the conceptual framework-based on Von Bertalanffy General System model 1968.

 


Implications of the study

 

An important role of the nurse is to provide awareness regarding female foeticide among undergraduate students in selected colleges of Vidarbha region. Several conclusions can be drawn from the study. The findings revealed (Fig 2) that the 43.67 percent had average knowledge, 40.67 percent had good knowledge regarding female foeticide. The knowledge regarding female feticide can be increased through imparting the health information to the undergraduate students.

Nursing Education: The nursing curriculum should emphasise on imparting health information to the undergraduate students by using different methods. Outreach services can be included in the syllabus, about health education in schools and colleges regarding female foeticide and PCPNTD Act. The study will help the teachers to educate the students for prevention, promotion and restoration of health status. Rural health services need to be improved specially through inservice education to the health workers. The result may be used as an example by the teacher in the classroom.

Legal aspect for inclusion in the syllabus

The new course will create awareness regarding law and the administration of justice, the need for equality of opportunity to use public services, including education and health, access to justice according to different parameters such as gender, age, and diversity of background, creating awareness regarding civic and social rights and responsibilities and consumer rights.

Nursing Research: There are no nursing studies in this area thus, more research need to be under-taken.

 

The empowerment and autonomy of women and the improvement of their political, social, economic and health status is a highly important end in itself. It is also essential for the achievement of sustain-able development. The full participation and partner-ship of both women and men is required in produc-tive and reproductive life, including shared respon-sibilities for the care and nurturing of children and maintenance of the household. In all parts of the world, women are facing threats to their lives, health and well- being as a result of being overburdened with work and of their lack of power and influence. In most regions of the world, women receive less formal education than men, and at the same time, women’s own knowledge, abilities and coping  mechanisms often go unrecognised. Mass Education Programme: Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process.More than 40 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted that “everyone has the right to education”.

Nursing Administration

Administration of health services should make con-tribution in policy making like opportunity, consultancy, and active participation at planning level. Now a days importance is given to preventive measures. This study will help in developing policies in school education which increase national productivity. Administrator of health services should organise the training programmes for students and general public. 

Recommendations

  • On the basis of the findings of the study, it is recom-mended that the following studies should be conducted: 
  • A teaching manual should be developed for the college students and health care workers especially for staff nurses on female foeticide. 
  • Longitudinal studies can be conducted to assess the status of female foeticide in the community.

Such studies should be conducted by organising planned teaching on undergraduate students which will serve as a reference material for com-munity people and nursing students.

Conclusion

 

Female foeticide is in practice in India from the time of advent of technological advancements in medical field like prenatal sex determination in the 1990s. However, earlier to this also, female children were being killed after their birth in many regions of the country. In the Indian society, female child are considered as the social and economic burden to their parents so they understand that it is better to kill them before birth. No one understands its negative aspect in the future. The female sex ratio in comparison to the males has been reduced to a great extent (8 males per one female). It is not easy to compensate the sex ratio even if we stop female foeticide completely in the next few years.

 

 

References

  • Jena KC. Heirship of Women under Indian Personal Laws. A comparative study, PhD Thesis (1998)
  • Saran K. Study to assess knowledge regarding decreasing sex ratio and attitude towards female foeticide. The Nursing Jour-nal of India 2005; 4
  • Walia A. Female foeticide in Punjab: Exploring the socioeconomic cultural dimen-sions. Journal on Social Issues 2005; Aug; 10(1)
  • Dipak Kumar Dash, Man on a mis-sion to curb Female Foeticide, Gurgaon, March 25, 2011.
  • Thomas. India’s most 4th dangerous place for women-Ludhiana, Delhi June 15, 2011.
  • Aditya Dev. Article on Girls led way to future in Gurgaon. Human Rights News Bulletin. Jan: 28, 2013
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Author : Jaya Khandar

Clinical Instructor, SRMMCON, Sawangi (M) Wardha (Maharashtra

Source: TNAI Journal