Provider bias in the treatment of diarrhea among boys and girls attending public facilities in Minia, Egypt

Soc Sci Med. 2003 Feb;56(4):753-68. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(02)00072-2.


Girls' excess mortality in early childhood persists in all regions of the world and has been attributed to parental discrimination in the allocation of food and healthcare. Consequently, researchers have paid scant attention to the potential for unequal treatment of boys and girls by health providers. Data from a longitudinal study of child morbidity conducted between 1995 and 1997 in Minia, Egypt are used to compare the frequency with which diarrheal cases of boys and girls were treated with oral rehydration solution (ORS) among children ever presenting at a formal source of care. Multivariate analysis suggests that public providers have marginally higher adjusted odds of administering ORS to boys than to girls and significantly higher adjusted odds of giving and recommending ORS to the caretakers of boys than of girls. Findings expose a need for further research on the supply side determinants of girls' disadvantaged treatment in Upper Egypt and in other settings where son preference persists.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Child Health Services / standards
  • Child Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Centers / standards*
  • Diarrhea / therapy*
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / therapy
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Hospitals, Public / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prejudice*
  • Public Sector / standards
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors