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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


VIEIRA, Elisabeth Meloni  and  SOUZA, Luiz de. Access to surgical sterilization through the National Health System, Ribeirão Preto, Southeastern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2009, vol.43, n.3, pp.398-404. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To characterize the profile of individuals who were unable to obtain the surgical contraception procedure, and associated factors. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study conducted in Ribeirão Preto (Southeastern Brazil) in 2004, on 230 individuals who were unable to obtain sterilization surgery through the National Health System between 1999 and 2004. A questionnaire on sociodemographic information, use of contraceptive methods, aspects of sterilization and desire to undergo sterilization in the future was applied. The variables of sex, age, religion, per capita income, marital status and schooling level were compared between the total number of individuals who were unable to obtain this procedure and 297 individuals who were sterilized. RESULTS: Among the 230 interviewees, 21.3% were men and 78.7% were women. Most of them were married, white and Catholic and had had at least four years of schooling. The median monthly per capita income was R$ 140.00. Twenty-three of them (10%) had hopes of undergoing the operation. The remaining 207 were classified in two groups: 71% had decided to postpone the operation and 29% had faced obstacles in relation to gaining access to sterilization. The latter group was associated with being female, young and black. After logistic regression, being black was the only factor that remained associated with inability to obtain sterilization. Comparison with individuals who were able to obtain the procedure showed that being female, older, evangelical and single were associated with inability to obtain sterilization, while higher income and schooling levels favored access. CONCLUSIONS: Few of the individuals studied had not had access to sterilization. Most had postponed the procedure and a smaller proportion had encountered institutional obstacles. Blacks encountered more barriers than whites did.

Keywords : Sterilization, Reproductive; Urogenital Surgical Procedures; Health Service Access; Equity of Access; Socioeconomic Factors; National Health System (SUS); Health Inequalities.

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