Empowerment and engagement of SHGs against RTI/STI in Karnataka, India: an interventional study


  • Manoj Kumar Gupta Associate Professor & Dean Research Coordinator, Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Bangalore, Karnataka
  • Reshmi RS Assistant Professor, Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Bangalore, Karnataka
  • Dhirendra Kumar Professor, Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) University, Jaipur, Rajasthan
  • Fehmida Visengrawala Visiting Professor, Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), Houston, Texas


Health education, Health seeking behavior, IEC material, RTI/STI, Self help group (SHG)


Background: Reproductive Tract Infections (RTIs) including Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are ‘silent’ epidemics and are recognized as public health problem and rank second as the cause of healthy life lost among women of reproductive age after maternal morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Development and use of IEC material along with active participation by the community ensures delivery of appropriate information and knowledge to people which in turn empowers them to make informed decisions about their health.

Methods: This was a ‘Multi-centric action research demonstration study’ to empower and engage the Self Help Groups (SHGs) women by creating awareness and sustaining interest through lesson plans in the IEC material regarding prioritized problem, required interventions and their access for syndromic recognition of the RTI/STIs. As an intervention, series of workshops were conducted with the help of pre-developed IEC material. 400 households (200 from each intervention and control sites) of SHG women were interviewed for baseline and endline each.

Results: Intervention was found effective in the form of a significant improvement in the level of awareness about RTI/STI, correct knowledge about white discharge, capability to identify the symptoms of RTI/STI and health seeking behavior of the respondents.

Conclusion: This study provides experience of the feasibility, efficacy and impact of health education interventions and point out that cost-effective strategies for prevention of RTI/STI are needed through information, education, and behavior change.



National AIDS Control Organization, MOHFW, Govt. of India. National guidelines on prevention, management and control of reproductive tract- infections including sexually transmitted infections, November 2006. Available at: http://www.naco.gov.in/upload/STI%20RTI%20services/National_Guidelines_on_PMC_of_RTI_Including_STI%201.pdf. Accessed 13 January 2014.

Dixon-Mueller R. Wasserheit J. The culture of silence: reproductive tract infections among women in the third world. In: Dixon-Mueller R. Wasserheit J, eds. A Study. New York: International Women’s Health Coalition; 1991.

Alaudin M, Maclaren L. Reaching newlywed and married adolescent. In: Alaudin M, Maclaren L, eds. Focus: Focus on Young Adults. Washington, DC: Pathfinder International; July 1999: 1-7.

George A. Newly married adolescent women: Experiences from case studies in urban India. In: Bott S, Jejeebhoy S, Shah I, Puri C, eds. Towards Adulthood: Exploring the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescents in South Asia. Geneva: WHO; Santhya; 2003:67-72.

Graeff JA, Elder JP, Booth EM. The ABCs of behavior. In: Graeff JA, Elder JP, Booth EM, eds. Communication for Health and Behavior Change: a Developing Country Perspective. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers; 1993: 19-36.

Bhawsar RD, Singh JP, Khanna A. Determinants of RTIs/STIs among women in Punjab and their health seeking behaviour. J Fam Welfare. 2005;51(1):11.

Hegde SK, Agrawal T, Ramesh N, Sugara M, Joseph PM, Singh S, et al. Reproductive tract infections among women in a peri-urban under privileged area in Bangalore, India: knowledge, prevalence, and treatment seeking behavior. Ann Trop Med Public Health. 2013;6:215-20.

Kosambiya JK, Desai VK, Bhardwaj P, Chakraborty T. RTI/STI prevalence among urban and rural women of Surat: a community-based study. Indian J Sex Transm Dis. 2009;30:89-93.

Li C, Han HR, Lee JE, Lee M, Kim MT. Knowledge, behaviour and prevalence of reproductive tract infections: a descriptive study on rural women in Hunchun, China. Asian Nurs Res (Korean Soc Nurs Sci). 2010;4:122-2.

Meitei HM, Latashori K, Gopal KS. Awareness and prevalence of reproductive tract infection in north eastern states of India. Health Popul Persp Issues. 2005;28:132-45.

Dawn A, Biswas R. Reproductive tract infection: An experience in rural West Bengal. Indian J Public Health. 2005;49:102-3.

Lan PT, Lundborg CS, Mogren I, Phuc HD, Chuc NT. Lack of knowledge about sexually transmitted infections among women in North rural Vietnam. BMC Infect Dis. 2009;9:85.

Aggarwal AK, Duggal M. Knowledge of men and women about reproductive tract infections and AIDS in a rural area of north India: impact of a community-based intervention. J Health Popul Nutr. 2004;22(4):413-9.

Singh A, Mahmood SE, Pandey S, Pandey A. A comparative study of health care seeking behaviour of women of reproductive age for sexually transmitted diseases/reproductive tract infections in the rural and urban areas of Bareilly district. Natl J Community Med. 2012;3(1):25-30.

Thakur JS, Swami HM, Bhatia SPS. Efficacy of syndromic approachin management of reproductive tract infections and associated difficulties in a rural area of Chandigarh. Indian J Community Med. 2002;27:110-3.

Jindal N, Aggarwal A, Gill P, Sabharwal B, Sheevani BB. Community-based study of reproductive tract infections, including sexually transmitted infections, among the rural population of Punjab, India. Indian J Community Med. 2009;34:359-61.

Bhandari MN, Kannan BD. Untreated reproductive morbidities among ever married women of slums of Rajkot city, Gujarat: the roles of class, distance, provider attitudes, and perceived quality of care. J Urban Health. 2010;87(2):254-63.

Balamurugan SS, Bendigeri ND. Community-based study of reproductive tract infections among women of the reproductive age group in the urban health training centre area in Hubli, Karnataka. Indian J Community Med. 2012;37:34-8.

Rathore M, Vyas L, Bhardwaj AK. Prevalence of reproductive tract infections amongst ever married women and sociocultural factors associated with it. J Indian Med Assoc. 2007;105(2):74-8.

Bang RA, Bang AT, Batule M, Choudhary Y, Sarmukkada S, Tole O. High prevalence of gynecological diseases in rural Indian women. Lancet. 1989;8:85-8.

Aggarwal AK, Kumar R, Gupta V, Sharma M. Community based study of reproductive tract infections among ever married women of reproductive age in a rural area of Haryana, India. J Commun Dis. 1999;31(4):223-8.

Sharma S, Gupta BP. The prevalence of reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases among married women in the reproductive age group in a rural area. Indian J Community Med. 2009;34:62-4.

Nandan D, Misra SK, Sharma A, Jain M. Estimation of prevalence of RTIs/STDs among women of reproductive age group in District. Agra J Med. 2002;37:110-3.

Pant B, Singh JV, Bhatnagar M, Garg SK, Chopra H, Bajpai SK. Social correlates in reproductive tract infections among married women in rural area of Meerut. Indian J Community Med. 2008;33:52-3.

Mehul T. Parmar, Harsha M. Solanki, Vibha V. Gosalia. A study of prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections & response to syndromic treatment among married women of reproductive age group in rural area of Parol primary health centre under thane district. Global J Med Public Health. 2013;2(2):1-8.

Passey M, Mgnoe CS, Lupiva S, Tiwara S, Lupiva T, Alpres MP. Screening for sexually transtimmed dieases in rural women in Papua New Guinea: are WHO therapeutic algrorithms appropriate for case detection? Bull world Health Organ. 1998;76:401-11.

Singh S, Chaturvedi S, Kumar A, Kannan AT. Impact of health education and condom distribution on incidence of RTI/STI among the newly married urban poor women in Delhi. J Commun Dis. 2010;42(1):53-61.

Srivastava L. Reproductive tract infections among women of rural community in Mewat, India. J Health Manag. 2010;12(4):519-38.




How to Cite

Gupta, M. K., RS, R., Kumar, D., & Visengrawala, F. (2017). Empowerment and engagement of SHGs against RTI/STI in Karnataka, India: an interventional study. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 3(3), 680–687. Retrieved from https://www.msjonline.org/index.php/ijrms/article/view/1355



Original Research Articles