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Ashok Kotwal
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The GDP conundrum
Posted on: 16 Nov 2016
Ever since India’s Central Statistical Organisation came out with the new GDP series with ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The idea of a universal basic income in the Indian context
Posted on: 26 Sep 2016
The idea of an unconditional basic income given to all citizens by the State, has caught o ... read on »
Debate: The Aadhaar Bill
Posted on: 02 May 2016
In a debate on the Aadhaar Bill, commentators from academia and civil society will ... read on »

Tag: maternal health

Women empowerment in nutrition: Access to healthcare
Udayan Rathore
Posted on: 14 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


Access to healthcare is constrained by three key factors – physical access to healthcare facilities, ability to pay, and quality of care. In this note, Udayan Rathore discusses how within poor households, women and children suffer disproportionately more on account of these constraints.

This is the third post of a five-part series.

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Women empowerment in nutrition: Do women really have a say in preparing and providing food?
Sweta Bhusan
Posted on: 13 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


Decision-making capacity of women within the household and in the community is considered to be a reflection of their empowerment. In this note, Sweta Bhusan discusses one dimension of decision-making that revolves around procuring, preparing and serving food to household members.

This is the second post of a five-part series.

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How female foeticide has influenced fertility and parental investments in girls
S. Anukriti , Sonia Bhalotra , Hiu Fung Tam
Posted on: 11 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender


The introduction of ultrasound technology in India has been documented to have led to a phenomenal increase in abortion of female fetuses. However, this column finds that it also decreased son-biased fertility stopping, narrowed gender gaps in breastfeeding and immunisation, and improved the survival chances of girls.
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Political decentralisation, female leadership, and health in rural Bihar
Santosh Kumar , Nishith Prakash
Posted on: 23 Aug 2017

Political decentralisation and female representation in governance are known to improve social welfare by influencing policy decisions in favour of women and children. Analysing data from rural Bihar, this column finds that having a female leader at the village council level has a strong positive association with institutional births, and child survival rates for richer households.
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Assam’s Brahmaputra Community Radio Station: Innovation in health communication
Anjali Mariam Paul
Posted on: 12 May 2017

River Brahmaputra which flows across the Northeast Indian state of Assam, carves out a network of nearly 2,300 islands, isolating them from the mainland and excluding their inhabitants from access to basic infrastructure and health facilities. Based on her fieldwork, Anjali Mariam Paul describes the working of an innovative intervention in health communication – a non-commercial grassroots community radio station for these river islands.
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Understaffed, underserved: Human problems of India’s public health system
Prateek Mittal , Vartika Singh
Posted on: 13 Oct 2016
Topics:   Health


India’s progress in reducing infant and maternal mortality is rather slow. This column shows the extent of shortfall of gynaecologists and auxiliary nurse midwives - the frontline of the battle against infant and maternal mortality – across health facilities in the country. It argues that along with absenteeism in public services, vacancies is a crucial area that requires improvement.
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Maternity entitlements for healthier babies
Diane Coffey , Payal Hathi
Posted on: 07 Jul 2016
Topics:   Gender , Health


The National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for a maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000 for every pregnant and lactating mother in India. In this article, Coffey and Hathi explain why maternity entitlements are a good investment, and discuss how they should be designed to have the biggest impact on the health and productivity of the next generation.
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Quality of governance and welfare outcomes
Salma Ahmed , Ranjan Ray
Posted on: 27 Apr 2016
Topics:   Political Economy


As the MDGs gave way to the SDGs, considerable attention has been focussed on movements in key welfare indicators for women and children in the past decade. In this context, this column compares India with Bangladesh, and also looks at the relative performance of Indian states. Further, it provides evidence on the strength of association between the quality of governance and welfare outcomes in India.
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Improving maternal and child health through conditional cash transfers
Sisir Debnath
Posted on: 21 Mar 2016
Topics:   Gender , Health


Cash transfers to the poor, conditional on use of particular public services, are a popular tool to increase healthcare utilisation. This column evaluates the impact of one such scheme – Janani Suraksha Yojana - and finds that it encouraged pregnant women to deliver babies at healthcare facilities. It also suggests that the marginal effect of cash incentives is larger when provided to healthcare workers rather than mothers.
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Maternal mortality and gender prejudice
Sonia Bhalotra , Damian C. Clarke , Joseph Flavian Gomes , Atheendar Venkataramani
Posted on: 22 Feb 2016
Topics:   Gender , Health


While maternal mortality has fallen sharply in the last decade, it remains unnecessarily high at about 800 deaths a day worldwide. Moreover, there is enormous variation in levels and rates of decline across countries, even after accounting for differences in income. This column discusses new evidence showing that gender prejudice explains a significant part of this variation.
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Is maternal health in India worse than we thought?
Diane Coffey
Posted on: 12 Aug 2015
Topics:   Health


Since India does not have a national system to monitor health during pregnancy, the fraction of women of child-bearing age who are underweight - 35.5% - is used as a proxy for the fraction of pre-pregnant women who are underweight. This column presents new research that finds that the actual proportion of pre-pregnant women who are underweight is 7 percentage points higher than this figure.
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Droughts and child health
Santosh Kumar , Ramona Molitor , Sebastian Vollmer
Posted on: 27 Jan 2015
Topics:   Health


Research has pointed towards the importance of foetal health in child development. Assessing the impact of rainfall variability on child health, this column finds that exposure to drought in the womb increases the child’s likelihood of being underweight. It suggests that policies aimed at reducing child malnutrition need to start at the beginning of human life, that is, in the womb.
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How effective is Janani Suraksha Yojana?
Shareen Joshi , Anusuya Sivaram
Posted on: 18 Dec 2014
Topics:   Health


Janani Suraksha Yojana - India’s safe motherhood programme – provides poor women with a financial incentive for delivering births at health centres and seeking antenatal and postnatal care. This column finds that the programme has had limited success. While women with no formal education and those from rural areas have benefitted disproportionately, the programme has failed to reach the poorest women.
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Distance and institutional deliveries in rural India
Emily Dansereau , Santosh Kumar , Christopher Murray
Posted on: 19 Apr 2013
Topics:   Gender , Health


India has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the world. A major cause is that a significant proportion of women continue to deliver babies at home without the presence of a skilled attendant. This column says that distance to health facilities is a key barrier to seeking delivery care at a facility.
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Like parent, like child: Health transmission in developing countries
Sonia Bhalotra
Posted on: 28 Jan 2013
Topics:   Gender , Health


To what extent is children’s health determined by their mothers’ health? This column analyses three decades’ worth of data on over two million children across 38 developing countries to explore how health is transmitted across generations – and how public policy can respond.
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