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

Articles By Public Health

Environmental Injustice and Public Health in India: Towards a “Decolonial Intersectional Environmental Justice” Framework

This article examines the current inadequacy of environmental policies in protecting the ecology and health of the public, especially among the socially marginalised sections in India and argues for a “decolonial intersectional environmental justice” approach in framing and implementing inclusive environmental policies in India. This article argues that in the acute environmental health crisis, the government should provide research grants not only to environmental and natural scientists but also involve social scientists in research and formulating innovative policies that can lead to a better ecosystem and could provide environmental justice to the people living at the margins.     

Understanding High Mortality among Private Facility Births in Rural Uttar Pradesh

In the last 15 years, there has been a large increase in facility births and a large decline in home births across India. In Uttar Pradesh, increases in facility birth have led to puzzlingly little decline in neonatal mortality. This paper investigates the role of private facilities in providing care at birth to rural residents of UP. Approximately one in five births of rural UP residents takes place in a private facility. These births experience a stunningly high neonatal mortality rate of 53 deaths per 1,000, compared to 32 among births in public facilities, and 40 among home births. This research seeks to understand why mortality rates are higher in private facilities than public facilities.

Barriers to Establishing a Dedicated Public Health Cadre

The efforts to develop a public health cadre have not seen much progress in most of the Indian states, despite the recommendations of several committees appointed by the union government, and the 2022 guidelines issued for establishing them. This paper, by drawing on the views of experts in the field, examines the epistemic, structural, systemic, and administrative barriers to the establishment of such a cadre in the south Indian states. It notes that the dominance and perpetuation of biomedical view of health, poor understanding of what public health is, privatisation of healthcare, the vested interests of clinicians, consultancy firms, international funding institutions and the existing hierarchies and binaries within the system, act as major barriers to the establishment of the cadre. The paper suggests that the proposed public health management cadre needs a critical revisit in light of these impediments and concerns.

Time Is Ripe for a One Health Law in India

The One Health framework that espouses an integrated approach for protecting the health of humans, animals and the environment is the need of the hour. The legally binding International Health Regulations (2005) is an existing powerful legislation that can bridge the gap between and among sectors for the realisation of the One Health approach in India.

COVID-19 Cases and Vaccination Inequality: A Comparative Analysis of Political Regimes

Different regimes have different capacities to respond to pandemics. Historically, democracies outperformed autocracies in health outcomes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the shortcomings, with a sharper tone, of full democracies (having higher COVID-19 cases than authoritarian regimes) and led to the formation of two competing hypotheses among the cross-national comparative political researchers: (i) biasing autocracy: that authoritarian regime manipulated and underreported COVID-19 cases, and (ii) efficient autocracy: that authoritarian regimes can control the spread of the disease effectively than democracies. We examined these two hypotheses, employing Benford’s test and generalised linear models, using the latest data set from the World Health Organization, EIU, United Nations, and other relevant sources. Findings include having no empirical support for the biasing hypothesis. However, the efficient autocracy hypothesis acquired partial empirical support. We further examined the data on COVID-19 vaccination for reliability (using Benford’s test), and the results indicated a potential case of data manipulation.