Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Barriers to Access of Healthcare Services for Rural Women – Applying Gender Lens on TB in a Rural District of Sindh, Pakistan

Version 1 : Received: 26 July 2021 / Approved: 27 July 2021 / Online: 27 July 2021 (11:19:15 CEST)

How to cite: Habib, S.S.; Jamal, W.Z.; Zaidi, S.M.A.; Siddiqui, J.U.; Khan, H.M.; Creswell, J.; Batra, S.; Versfeld, A. Barriers to Access of Healthcare Services for Rural Women – Applying Gender Lens on TB in a Rural District of Sindh, Pakistan. Preprints 2021, 2021070599 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0599.v1). Habib, S.S.; Jamal, W.Z.; Zaidi, S.M.A.; Siddiqui, J.U.; Khan, H.M.; Creswell, J.; Batra, S.; Versfeld, A. Barriers to Access of Healthcare Services for Rural Women – Applying Gender Lens on TB in a Rural District of Sindh, Pakistan. Preprints 2021, 2021070599 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0599.v1).

Abstract

Background: Women in rural districts of Pakistan face numerous barriers to healthcare, rendering gender-responsive health programming important, including for Tuberculosis (TB). This study was conducted to assess the general understanding of TB and of access to healthcare for women, as a first step towards implementation of a gender responsive TB programme in TandoAllayar, a rural district of Pakistan. Methods: A total of 36 participants were interviewed. The focus group discussion guide comprised of questions on: (1) family/household dynamics (2) community norms (3) healthcare system (4) women’s access to healthcare (5) TB Awareness;, and (6) women’s access to TB Care. Results: Limited autonomy in household financial decision-making, disapproval of unassisted travel, long travel time, lack of prioritization of spending on women’s health and inadequate presence of female health providers, were identified as barriers to access of healthcare for women, higher in younger women. Facilitators to access of TB care included a reported lack of TB-related stigma, moderate knowledge about TB disease, and broad understanding of tuberculosis as a curable disease. Other suggested facilitators include health facilities closer to the villages and the availability of higher quality services. Conclusion: Significant barriers are faced by women in access to TB care in rural districts of Pakistan. Programme implementers in high burden countries, should shift towards improved gender-responsive TB programming.

Keywords

tuberculosis; patriarchy; gender barriers; women

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