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

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Seven Kinds of Deprivation That Women Face Everyday

Patriarchal structures have ensured that women’s access to resources, health, education, and political representation among other things, have remained heavily unequal.

How a Flawed Understanding of PCOS Robs Women of Their ‘Femininity’

This article discusses the understanding of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) among medical professionals in the patriarchal framework and how women experience infantalisation at the hands of doctors.

National Health Policy, 2017

The National Health Policy, 2017 reflects the perfunctory attitude towards public health, so deeply entrenched among the mandarins of the health ministry. The policy paves the way for the contraction of public healthcare systems, thereby reducing the government’s involvement in the delivery of health services, and facilitates the dominance of the private sector in curative care. However, in the absence of a robust public healthcare system, the goal of achieving “healthcare for all” becomes even more onerous.

Publicly Financed Health Insurance Schemes

The announcement of the National Health Protection Scheme provides us with an opportunity to see how its predecessor Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and other publicly funded health insurance schemes have fared so far. The experiences of PFHIS indicate that targeted health insurance coupled with a healthcare delivery system dominated by “for profit” private providers failed to address the issues of access and financial risk protection. They possibly displace resources that can be utilised for strengthening a public health system.

The Challenge of Breastfeeding Sensitisation

Mothers’ Absolute Affection, the nationwide programme to improve breastfeeding, attempts to achieve the same by incentivising frontline health workers to create awareness on the issue. However, a pilot study shows that hiring breastfeeding consultants at the district hospital level is not only more economically feasible, but also results in improved breastfeeding rates.

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. Despite certain infant and...

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.

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