Author: Vandana Prasad
Title: Barriers of Accessing Health Care among Adult Street Dwellers in Delhi
Publication: School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of Western Cape (Masters Thesis)
Date of Publication: November 2011
Urban health policy has remained a neglected area in India. The homeless remain the most deprived, neglected and stigmatized group amongst the urban poor. While they suffer from a large burden of disease, there are a variety of reasons that prevent them from accessing the available health care services – particularly in the public health sector. Some interventions by concerned non-governmental organisations have attempted to circumvent the barriers to health care access faced by the homeless but these have not been well documented or assessed. This study seeks to establish both the barriers and facilitating factors for access to health care and health care seeking amongst adult street dwellers in an area of New Delhi which is known for a high concentration of homeless persons.
Using a qualitative approach 18 adult street dwellers (both male and female) were individually interviewed – along with 6 key informants working in the public and non-governmental health sector. This was accompanied by a process of participant-observation. The results were analyzed by identifying recurrent themes associated with barriers and facilitating factors for access to health care by the homeless, following which a set of recommendations related to the homeless, have been developed so as to inform those working in the public health sector.