Category Archives: Public Health

Sciencing up participation, and participationing science

That health, education and various other public services are distributed unfairly is not new for human societies; the level of unfairness however appears to be on the increase. This is indeed counter-intuitive, given the last few decades’ strides in economic progress and even improved average lifespan and improving access to health globally. Despite widespread feeling that inequalities in health or healthcare distribution is explained by chance or by other proximate explanations such as distance or wealth, the “causes of the causes” are invariably lying within social factors (see my recent TedX talk on health as a matter of chance, or of choice). Continue reading

Niti Aayog Report Healthy states, progressive India: A rapid Karnataka-centred assessment

The Healthy states, progressive India report (HSPI report) seeks to assess various Indian states in terms of their performance in health over time. I have noted below a few quick points from a Karnataka-centred perspective. The note is written mainly for the purposes of generating discussion and debate on strengthening Karnataka’s health. This assessment is by no means a comprehensive summary of the report. The full report is available on the Niti Aayog website here: http://niti.gov.in/content/healthy-states-progressive-india-report-ranks-states-and-union-territories# Continue reading

Healthy by chance, or by choice

I was recently invited to speak at a TEDx event organised by a school in Hyderabad. Given my research interests on health equity, I chose to build my talk around a foundational element of public health itself: what makes one healthy, is it a matter of chance (for eg. through genes), or by choice (through specific “healthy” behavioural choices, one “chooses”).

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Can carers decide on assisted suicide

Caring for a chronically ill family member is physically and emotionally taxing. I have seen in such situations people struggling with questions on the larger meaning/purpose of life, death, well-being, happiness and such. The very capacity to love and empathize (either oneself or our loved ones) get tested in such situations. I have heard single mothers working daily wages asking if their severely disabled and mentally ill children can be assisted to die… I have also heard parents in extreme poverty lament caring for a severely mentally ill child. These provoke questions at various levels ranging from what is the role of the onlooker/health worker in such situations to the larger question of who’s to blame and whom to hold accountable for such a pathetic situation that some households find themselves in. Is it not largely due to failure of systems and services. Is it just by pure chance that these situations are more taxing in poorer and disadvantaged households?

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Of rainy cities and public health

This is an expanded version of an article published in Sunday Spotlight submission to Deccan Herald dated September 17, 2017

Recognition is famously a passage from ignorance to knowledge

The above line is from Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement, his recent meditation on how literature has engaged with climate change and its effects. Ghosh laments the absence of substantive engagement by contemporary arts and literature on climate change. Continue reading