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

Articles by Saseendran PallikadavathSubscribe to Saseendran Pallikadavath

A Paradox within a Paradox

Kerala is famous for the speed with which its fertility has fallen over the decades. During the fertility transition Kerala's GDP per head and industrialisation have remained low, even compared with the rest of India. In general, explanations for this fertility decline have regarded Kerala as a homogeneous society and paid little attention to internal differences. However, fertility is low among the most socially and economically disadvantaged group in Kerala society, the scheduled castes, the former 'untouchables' of the traditional caste system. Thus, not only is fertility in Kerala low (1.96), but for scheduled castes it is even lower (1.52). This reversal of normal expectations is studied in the context of a scheduled caste community, the Vettuvans. The most important reason for the reversal of fertility was caste-system change triggered by land reform, Gulf migration, and democratisation of education in the state.

Women's Reproductive Health Security and HIV/AIDS in India

The rate of infection with HIV among women is increasing. This has significant implications for the reproductive health of women in India. The present configuration of national family planning services is not likely to bring about widespread condom use, which would protect women from HIV. Limited access by women, especially the poor, to health care in general means that women who are HIV positive are at an additional disadvantage. Absence of accessible voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services will impair the effectiveness of HIV control programme in India. HIV positive women in India face serious problems with respect to marriage, sexuality, and childbearing and as the epidemic spreads these will impact on the wider society. Research studies are required in the field of mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, particularly through breastfeeding, in the Indian context. While social initiatives such as the empowerment of women are required to provide reproductive health security to women, a comprehensive confidential voluntary counselling and testing programme is urgently needed.

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