|The Female Client and the Health-care Provider (IDRC, 1995)|
|Journeys and Voices: A Collection of Excerpts|
H.V. Wyatt Department of Public Health and Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
There are marked gender differences in immunization and acute polio statistics. These gender differences grow larger with the age of the children and with the intensity of care received.
Data from rehabilitation centres and polio camps show gender differences; these differences are very large in some villages, and are reflected in the marked absence of girls with polio from these villages. These differences may be due to lack of health care for girl babies, to neglect of girls with polio, and to high mortality of girls with polio.
Since 1945, there have been several hundred papers published on the topic of polio in India, covering immunization, prevalence of acute and residual paralysis, and rehabilitation. Yet no paper discusses differences relating to gender. Even data which might have been analyzed by gender are always presented as a total. WHO manuals detail how to collect records for immunization: boys and girls are recorded, but later simply added together. Following WHO practice, many surveys have looked at the reasons mothers give for missing immunizations of their children. These data are presented with no breakdown by gender. NGOs carry out extensive house-to-house surveys to locate disabled children - and then file their results in such a way that differences related to gender cannot be examined.