Background. 10 million children died in developing countries in 2002. Since the seventies Health for All was made as an attempt at a more systematic global health policy. In India mortality in girls exceed that of boys. This inequity is thought to arise from the preferential treatment of boys in health care-seeking and nutrition.
Materials and methods. This paper discusses primary health care for children in Ranchi, India, and the meaning of gender when it comes to seeking a doctor. The paper is based on literature review, interviews and qualitative and quantitative observations at YMCA Health Care Centre and by a private practitioner.
Results. YMCA in Ranchi works for integrated primary health care among the poor. We observed immunization, health-talks with parents, consultations and hospitalisation. Limited resources and lack of knowledge among parents complicated the work. The private practitioner treated patients able to pay. Studies from different parts of India have shown gender discrimination in health care. We registered data from 303 children. There was no statistical significant link between gender and type of office. However, there was a tendency towards more boys being brought to the private clinic; 60, 5 % of these patients were boys and 39, 5 % were girls.
Interpretation. To reach the goal Health for All, well-functioning integrated health-services must be developed.We did not find clear evidence of gender discrimination when it comes to health care, even though studies from other parts of India have shown this.