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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 95-100

Self-reported morbidity profile among geriatric population in ICMR-model rural health research unit, Kallur, Tirunelveli

1 Health Systems Research & MRHRU, ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Tirunelveli Medical College, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Health Systems Research & MRHRU, ICMR-NIE (Model Rural Health Research Unit), Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Yuvaraj Jayaraman
ICMR.National Institute of Epidemiology, Second Main Road, Tamil Nadu Housing Board, Ayapakkam, Near Ambattur, Chennai - 600 077, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiag.jiag_2_20

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Background: The Model Rural Health Research Unit at Kallur, Tirunelveli, established by the Department of Health Research, Government of India, is linked to Tirunelveli Medical College. It is mentored by the ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai. The key objective was to develop area-specific models to undertake field health research depending on the disease profile, topography, morbidity patterns, and better health-care services. As a part of the ongoing activity, we constructed a cohort of 36,289 people and analyzed the self-reported information on morbidities experienced by the registered population from different aspects. In this communication, we report some of the findings extracted from the data sets as descriptive epidemiology on the self-reported magnitude of illness and their utilization of health services in the rural cohort of a primary health center among the geriatric population 60 years or more. Methods: A demographic health database of 11,006 households (HH) with 36,289 individuals was constructed in the study area under the Primary Health Centre, Nadu Kallur, Tirunelveli. This database consists of self-reported morbidity data collected at baseline, pertaining to the cohort members with age 60 years or more and analyzed it. Results: The study area's total geriatric population with 60 years of age or more was 4891 (13.5%). In this cohort, the gender ratio was 824 males for every 1000 females, with an average of 0.4 geriatric persons per HH, and 37% of them were illiterates. About 38% of the study population were either widowed or separated. Nearly 65% of the people in the cohort lived in the same house for more than 10 years. Around 10% were pensioners, and almost 36% had to work for their daily living. Only 27% had health insurance or were covered by a health scheme. About 52% (2564) of the individuals reported about their one or more ailments. The total number of different types of ailments reported was 3704. Among them, 402 (11%) were not treated. For the remaining (3302 ailments) one or more treatments were taken, i.e., in all 4705 instances, treatment was taken either consulting a physician or self-treatment. Hypertension (25%) and diabetes mellitus (21%) were the major cause of morbidity among the elderly in this cohort. Conclusion: The above rural baseline survey portrays the commonly reported morbidities and their treatment-seeking behavior of a cohort of elderly people living in the area under Government Primary Health Centre, Nadu Kallur, South India. The findings indicate that the commonly reported morbidity and their treatment-seeking behavior remain unchanged even after rapid strides in India's health-care delivery. This study's data strengthen the need to increase the services for the geriatric population to improve their quality of life.

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