ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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National Family Health Survey-4 (2015–16)

The fourth round of National Family Health Survey (2015–16) is discussed with a brief exposition of the trends in household environment and sanitation, fertility, child health and child mortality, nutrition, health, and status of women between 2005–06 (NFHS-3) and 2015–16 (NFHS-4).

Determinants of Child Malnutrition in Tribal Areas of Madhya Pradesh

A research study conducted in three tribal districts— Alirajpur, Barwani and Khandwa—of Madhya Pradesh, based on a sample of 294 women with their last child in the age-group of six months–five years analyses the status and determinants of malnutrition and child death.

Ambient Air Pollution from Urban Transport in India

High levels of air pollution from transport systems in urban India pose a severe threat to public health. While long-term challenges remain to curtail pollution sources, immediate measures must be taken to minimise risks to exposed populations.

India's 'Poverty of Numbers'

The number of "poor" derived by applying price adjustment to an old consumption basket, which is largely what official poverty measures have done, are very different from estimates based on actual consumption baskets that have changed over time. For instance, the share of cereals in household expenditure halved between 1993-94 and 2011-12 in rural areas. In the light of this, we ask if all expenditure would be on food, what percentage of the population would be unable to meet the prescribed calorie requirement? Adding a "minimum" level of expenditure on clothing-bedding-footwear, fuel and light, and conveyance to the "derived" sum of food expenditure provides a second counterfactual. Similarly, the cumulative addition of expenditure on other consumer goods and services provides further counterfactual scenarios.

From LPG Connections to Use

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, to provide concessional LPG connections, is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done by 2019 and beyond to ensure homes in India cook using modern fuels. This article explores the issues of providing connections, subsidy provisioning and ensuring sustained use of LPG and other modern fuels, so as to displace solid fuels from Indian kitchens. It also highlights the need for planning for increased demand and addressing institutional gaps to ensure that the benefits of modern fuel adoption, especially health benefits, are realised.

No Respite for Public Health

Health allocations in Budget 2016-17, which show a modest increase in nominal terms, must be viewed against the virtual stagnation of allocations since 2010-11, and the major cuts of 2015-16. Meanwhile, state governments' investments in health grew steadily. The centre has only prioritised initiatives that stimulate private health sector growth. This approach will have immediate adverse effects on availability and quality of public health services and will cause impoverishment due to healthcare costs, compromising economic growth in the long run.

Cleaning Up the Pharma Industry

For over 30 years pharmaceutical companies have been selling fixed-dose combination drugs with scant need to justify their efficacy, safety or rationality for use. The Government of India has finally banned 344 such drugs, though pharma companies have been able to obtain interim judicial stay orders. It is hoped that the courts take into account the serious public health implications of the sale of certain drugs and allow regulatory intervention banning uncertified combination drugs, including codeine-based cough syrups and various cold and flu drugs.

Health Aspects of the Environmental Impact Assessment Process in India

Impact assessments are conducted with the objective of safeguarding human health and the environment. The Environmental Impact Assessment notification of 2006, subsequent amendments and associated guidelines provide the framework to document untoward effects of proposed industrial and developmental projects on the environment, and to manage them. It is also implicitly understood that the notification covers human health concerns arising from the proposed projects. Are health concerns being adequately accounted for when projects are provided clearance? Through the use of a standardised framework, several gaps were found in health-related aspects of the notification and the two evaluated EIA reports analysed here. Further reflection is called for on the purpose of EIAs to prevent human health from becoming a casualty on the path to "development".

Health and Economic Impact of Unsafe Drinking Water

The article is based on a study of the problem of contaminated water supply in Ludhiana. It finds that the incidence of water-related diseases and their economic impact on households is reasonably high. The quality of water was identified as a major problem in all the selected localities of the city. Leaking pipes, water storage and the slow movement of water during transmission and distribution contribute to health problems, especially for the poor.

From Surviving to Thriving

The process of living as a child has changed in post-Independence India as have the challenges faced by children. Exploring alternative facets and formulations of children's rights though has yet to find space in policy discourse. Use of the term well-being expands the scope of research inquiry and policy attention, from the negatives to the positives, building on the strengths of the parents, the family, the societies and the state, to ensure children are able to not just survive but actually thrive.

Living Environment and Health of Urban Poor

This paper presents and discusses primary data from a survey of 1,070 households in four poor settlements in Mumbai comprising slum-and pavement-dwellers and squatters on the living environment and health conditions. The study attempts to examine the consequences of socio-economic and environmental factors in terms of income, literacy, sanitation and hygiene for morbidity. The needs of the urban poor and their priorities are seen to be hierarchial. They need first assurance of being allowed to stay where they are and then provision of basic amenities of toilets, water supply, sewerage and drainage.

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