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

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Biological Markers and the Health of Older Indians

Portable, user-friendly diagnostics have increased the use of biological markers in national health surveys. The 2010 pilot wave of the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India used a comprehensive biomarker module to measure more accurately the burden of health risks and morbidity among older Indians in four pilot states. This paper presents results from the biomarker data collected during the LASI pilot wave and compares them with self-reports. When compared with self-reports, biomarker data revealed a greater burden of health risks and a higher prevalence of chronic disease. By showing the systematic variations in health status between LASI's self-reported data and biomarker data, the paper highlights the value of using biomarkers to establish more reliable estimates of health in national surveys. The biomarkers studied include blood pressure measurements, grip strength, body mass index, and waist-to-hip ratio, all of which provide valuable insights into health trends affecting older adults.

Family Welfare Programme in India: Expenditure vs Performance

Since the launch of the reproductive and child health policy regime in 1998-99, there has been a massive rise in government expenditure on family welfare programmes in India. This paper makes a systematic effort to assess the performance of the family welfare programmes vis-à-vis the trends in expenditure. The trends in key performance indicators for India and selected states reveal that progress has been slow and limited in the post-rch policy regime. Child immunisation coverage has decelerated, and the increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate and institutional delivery coverage have stalled. Consequently, the pace of reduction in the total fertility rate and infant mortality rate has slowed. Overall, the progress in key programme indicators is found to be incommensurate with rising expenditure.

Fertility Decline in India: Contributions by Uneducated Women Using Contraception

India's fertility transition is driven by major fertility declines among women who are illiterate. Consequently, the earlier emphasis on women's education and socio-economic conditions as determinants of fertility decline is shifting to research on the study of reciprocally initiated positive contributions of fertility decline to the improvement of the health of women and children. This analysis indicates that illiterate women and their children are the greatest recipients of the benefits of health and socio-economic advancement. The standardised percentages of women without education who received three antenatal care check-ups and whose children received full immunisation are sharply higher for women with two children and less than for those with more than two children. Child mortality reductions for women of lower parities are steeply higher for uneducated women compared with educated women. These cumulative benefits of low fertility, in effect, have speeded up the health improvement and socio-economic advancement of the states.

Female Education and Fertility Decline

Both recent theory and evidence suggest that female education continues to play an important role in India's fertility decline. Although the bulk of fertility decline is now occurring among uneducated women and may mask the contribution of education to it, studies reveal the role of diffusion mechanisms, including the positive role of others, especially women's education, on the fertility behaviour of the uneducated.

Fertility Decline and Falling School Enrolment

An enquiry into the impact of declining fertility on school infrastructure facilities in the lower primary schools in a district with one of the lowest population growths in the country finds that despite a rapid decline in enrolment there is no real surplus of such facilities. Instead, there has been an improvement in the quality of the infrastructure.
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