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

Monica DasguptaSubscribe to Monica Dasgupta

P N Mari Bhat: An Intellectual Tribute

Mari Bhat, director of the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai and among the finest demographers of his generation in the world, died suddenly on July 30. A tribute to his work.

ICDS and Persistent Undernutrition

This article examines the effectiveness of the Integrated Child Development Services programme in addressing the challenge of child undernutrition in India. It finds that although the ICDS programme appears to be well-designed and well-placed to address the multidimensional causes of malnutrition in India, there are several mismatches between the programmeâ??s design and its actual implementation that prevent it from reaching its potential. These include an increasing emphasis on the provision of supplementary feeding and preschool education to children aged four to six years, at the expense of other programme components that are crucial for combating persistent undernutrition; a failure to effectively reach children under three and, ineffective targeting of the poorest states and those with the highest levels of undernutrition which tend to have the lowest levels of programme funding and coverage. In addition, ICDS faces substantial operational challenges.

Public Health in India: Dangerous Neglect

Public health services, which reduce a population's exposure to disease through such measures as sanitation and vector control, are an essential part of a country's development infrastructure. In India, policies have focused largely on medical services. Public health services, and even implementation of basic public health regulations, have been neglected. Various organisational issues also militate against the rational deployment of personnel and funds for disease control. There is strong capacity for dealing with outbreaks when they occur, but not to prevent them from occurring. Impressive capacity also exists for conducting intensive campaigns, but not for sustaining these gains on a continuing basis afterwards. This is illustrated by the near-eradication of malaria through highly-organised efforts in the 1950s, and its resurgence when attention shifted to other priorities such as family planning. This paper reviews the fundamental obstacles to effective disease control in India, which need to be dealt with on an urgent basis.
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