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Gender bias in child care and child health: global patterns
  1. Rohan Khera1,
  2. Snigdha Jain1,
  3. Rakesh Lodha2,
  4. Sivasubramanian Ramakrishnan3
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, USA
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  3. 3Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr S Ramakrishnan, Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India; ramaaiims{at}; ramakgmc{at}


Gender-based discrimination is reported across the spectrum of paediatric healthcare including emergency, inpatient, outpatient and preventive care and is mostly reported from South Asia and China with sporadic reports from Africa and South America. Biases against young girls have been documented even in immunisation percentage, home food allocation, seeking medical care for childhood ailments and percentage of household healthcare expenditures allocated to them. Such gender discrimination in access to medical care is likely to have an influence on the overall health of female children. Over the last five decades, the under-5 sex ratios are worsening in India with declining number of girls. Deliberate parental neglect of girls’ essential and life-saving medical care is also an important contributing factor apart from sex-selective abortions to the declining gender ratios. Corrective measures and focused action are needed.

  • General Paediatrics
  • Health Service

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