research and policy advocacy for health & wellbeing in India.

Sanitation

Exploring the causes and consequences of widespread open defecation in India

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Sanitation

Social Inequality

Understanding how social discrimination impacts child and maternal health in rural India

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Social Inequality

Maternal Health

Exploring challenges and policy responses to adequate nutrition in motherhood to improve child health

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Maternal Health

Two new additions to the r.i.c.e. family

We are very happy to report to you that there are additions to the r.i.c.e. family.

First of all, Kritika joined us as ha research fellow. Kritika has completed a Masters in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics. Her paper on Public Health Facilities in Rural North India, with Reetika, came out recently in the EPW.

Next, Payal and Sameer had a baby boy! Aarav was born on the 15th of July! 

Both Payal and Aarav are very healthy.

 

 

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Things Swachh Bharat Mission can learn from Yoga Day

India, on Sunday morning, set two new Guinness World Records –for the most individuals performing Yoga at a single venue, and individuals from the largest number of nationalities performing it simultaneously. The prime minister took everyone by surprise when after delivering a short speech he came down from the stage and joined his fellow compatriots to practice yoga.

This is not the first successful campaign which Mr. Modi has led from the front; in fact, time and again he has proven his versatility of orchestrating large scale events. In this case the Ministry of AYUSH deployed available mediums of mass communication to sure widespread participation. It connected with people directly through SMSs, e-mail, on social media and in the form of TV and newspaper ads. All this bolstered the success of the event.

Yoga helps people to live a healthier life and the government did a fair job in promoting it. Ending open defecation would improve health in India a lot too, andwe feel that there is much that Swachh Bharat Mission can learn from International Yoga Day celebration.

  1. Keeping messages short and simple:Instead of keeping the agenda vague by talking generally about the physical and mental health the International Yoga Day campaign kept things simple for people and promoted a way of attaining the goal.
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Like its predecessors, Narendra Modi’s sanitation programme is struggling | Nikhil and Aashish’s op-ed in LiveMint

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Please go to livemint and see Nikhil and Aashish’s op-ed on the struggles being faced by the new Swachh Bharat Mission. They compile a lot of data from the website of the Swachh Bharat Mission to present the case that the mission is not any different from the Swachh Bharat Mission, and in some ways, may even be worse. It reduced spending on behavior change spending, for certain.

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Sanitation and Infant mortality externalities paper on fivethirtyeight

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This week, FiveThirtyEight blog highlighted a newly-released working paper by Dean Spears and I. The paper, now posted as part of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s working paper series, studies the infant mortality externalities of poor sanitation. The paper, “Neighborhood Sanitation and Infant Mortality,” can be downloaded at no cost from the Social Science Research Network. 

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Is Some Vaccine Worse than None? The Rubella Vaccine Threshold Effect

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The issue: Vaccines are the most effective tools to defend against viral infection. Diseases that use to be common causes of illnesses and deaths around the world, such as smallpox, measles, diphtheria, pertussis, influenza, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and rubella can be prevented via vaccines and as a result have either been eradicated (smallpox), or have been tremendously reduced over the past century. For example, rubella, a disease that, when contracted by pregnant women, can result in death of the fetus or birth defects in the infant, has been eliminated in the Americas since 2009 and has decreased substantially in Europe.1, 2

Therefore, when India’s Ministry of Health announced in 2014 that they plan to introduce rubella-containing vaccine (RCV) into their national measles routine childhood immunization program,3, 4 at first glance this seemed like a great and straight forward public health intervention.  It might save a lot of children from being born with birth defects: it is estimated that 110,000 infants (95% CI 14,000 – 308,000) are born each year with congenital rubella syndrome.5   The rubella vaccine is safe and effective – 95-100% of susceptible individuals over a year old develop rubella anti-bodies, which protect them against the disease,

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