Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Disability, Caste and Intersectionality: Does Co-Existence of Disability and Caste Compound Marginalization for Women Seeking Maternal Healthcare in Southern Nepal?

Version 1 : Received: 1 March 2021 / Approved: 2 March 2021 / Online: 2 March 2021 (22:07:38 CET)

How to cite: Devkota, H.R.; Clarke, A.; Murray, E.; Kett, M.; Groce, N. Disability, Caste and Intersectionality: Does Co-Existence of Disability and Caste Compound Marginalization for Women Seeking Maternal Healthcare in Southern Nepal?. Preprints 2021, 2021030115 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0115.v1). Devkota, H.R.; Clarke, A.; Murray, E.; Kett, M.; Groce, N. Disability, Caste and Intersectionality: Does Co-Existence of Disability and Caste Compound Marginalization for Women Seeking Maternal Healthcare in Southern Nepal?. Preprints 2021, 2021030115 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0115.v1).

Abstract

Background: Disability and caste are two different forms of oppression, however Dalits and people with disabilities commonly face similar types of marginalities. Dalit women with disabilities may experience double discrimination because of the intersectionality of disability and caste. This study examines whether the disability and caste identity of women together affects and compounds the utilization of maternal healthcare services. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire among a total of 354 Dalit and non-Dalit women, with and without a disability aged between 15 – 49 years. Maternal healthcare service utilization was assessed by Ante-Natal Care (ANC), health facility (HF) delivery, and Post-Natal Care (PNC) during the last pregnancy. Logistic regression was performed to detect the predictors of service utilization and identify whether disability and caste were associated with service utilization. First, disability and caste were fitted separately in models. Secondly, the intersectionality of disability and caste was tested by the inclusion of disability*caste interaction term. Finally, the confounding effect of socio-demographic factors was investigated. Results: Out of surveyed women, 73% had 4+ ANC visits, 65% had HF delivery and 29% had a PNC visit during their last pregnancy. Women with a disability had lower odds of HF delivery (OR 0.50, CI 0.30 – 0.84) and PNC (OR 0.47, CI 0.25 – 0.88) than women without a disability. Adjustment for women’s age and household wealth explained associations in HF delivery by women with disabilities. There was no association between caste and service utilization. Disability overrode caste and there was no other evidence of effect modification by women’s caste status in the utilization. However, a weak interaction effect in the utilization of ANC services was found in the caste group by their education (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.05 – 0.74). Conclusions: Disabled women – whether Dalit or non-Dalit - had lower rates of utilizing all maternal healthcare services than non-disabled women. However, Dalit women with disabilities were more likely to receive PNC than non-Dalit women with disabilities. Increasing equity in maternal healthcare service utilization requires that traditional approaches to service development and program intervention to be re-examined and more nuanced interventions considered to ensure improved access and outcome among all vulnerable groups.

Keywords

Disability; Caste; Intersectionality; Maternal healthcare; Utilization; Nepal

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