Examining the link between caste and under-five mortality in India

ScienceDaily | 8/20/2019 | Staff
The world has made remarkable progress in terms of child survival rates over the past few decades, with a marked decline in deaths among children under five seen across the world since the mid-2000s. Although India has also seen a consistent decline in child deaths in recent years, the under-five mortality rate is still high in a few selected states and among the scheduled caste (previously referred to as "untouchables") and scheduled tribe population (communities living in tribal areas), thus representing a major public health concern. Despite continuing efforts by the Indian government to redress the effects of the caste system, it remains a significant line of social division in the country and people in disadvantaged castes continue to experience adverse circumstances such as caste-based discrimination while accessing the health care system.

In their study published in the journal PLOS ONE, IIASA researchers examined the disparities in under-five mortality in the so-called high focus states of India -- designated as such due to their persistently high child mortality rates and relatively poor socioeconomic and health indicators. The study examined the association between castes and under-five mortality in these regions using the most recent data from the Indian Demographic Health Survey conducted between 2015 and 2016. In addition, the authors attempted to quantify the relative contribution of socioeconomic determinants to under-five deaths by explaining the gap between socially disadvantaged castes and non-disadvantaged castes in these regions in an effort to help reduce the absolute and relative burden of under-five deaths in the country.

Questions - Association - Caste - Mortality - Years

"The main questions we wanted to address were whether the association between caste and under-five mortality had been fading away in recent years due to the government's health programs, particularly after the implementation of the country's National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005. We also wanted to determine which factors...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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