Background: India’s health disparities are clearly visible in the southern state of Karnataka. A community needs assessment, one of the first done in this area in over a decade, was conducted to identify unsatisfied needs. The Northwell Center for Global Health worked alongside a local boarding school, Shanti Bhavan, to conduct a needs assessment using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response tool.
Methods: A community based cross-sectional survey design was implemented in ten rural villages in Karnataka throughout February 2019. The target population for this study included people that earned less than US$2 / day. The survey instrument consisted of a questionnaire and tracking form.
Results: 197 of 359 households participated in the survey which encompassed a total of 1023 individuals. Proper housing structure was the most common need (27.7 %) followed by access to transportation (16.1 %) and access to healthcare (15.2 %). Agitated behavior, sad mood, and frequent worries were the most experienced behavioral health concerns with 47.7%, 41.6% and 41.1 % prevalence respectively. Chronic diseases (i.e. high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma) were prevalent in 35 of the households (9.7%). The major disease concern in relation to mosquito borne illness was Dengue (36.0 %). Access to healthcare was an issue in 44 of the 197 households (22.3%) with financial reasons being the most common barrier.
Conclusions: Notably, there were no expressed needs for basic necessities such as food, water and medication. This may be due to the help of state programs or a limitation of the survey format. Respondents were most concerned with Dengue but are also at risk for other vector diseases such as Malaria and Chikungunya, highlighting the need to increase awareness and safety measures. Additionally, mental health problems represented a significant burden of disease.