Honing in on small geographic areas within districts in India yields large differences

Indian mother holding baby

Estimating health indicators, such as birth weight and size, is typically calculated at the district level in India, a practice that fails to capture the inequalities that may exist between smaller geographic areas, such as villages. A team of researchers affiliated with the India Policy Insights project have published a study that takes a novel look at low birth weight (LBW) and low birth size (LBS) across these smaller geographical…

Study finds large disparities in life expectancy between different castes in India, suggesting “diverse systems of discrimination akin to racism”

Flag of India

A study published in PNAS co-authored by Harvard Bell Fellow Aashish Gupta, PhD, and two other colleagues uses survey data on more than 20 million individuals from nine Indian states (representing approximately half of India’s total population) to estimate life expectancy differences between those from higher-castes (e.g., Hindus) and three marginalized social groups: Adivasis (indigenous peoples), Dalits (oppressed castes), and Muslims.

Researchers call into question the accuracy of using stunting as a metric for measuring undernutrition among children in India

Child in a field in India

S V Subramanian and Rockli Kim, along with their colleague Omar Karlsson, have authored a timely commentary published in The Lancet Global Health in which they caution policy makers in India — who are currently reformulating India’s flagship nutrition program, POSHAN Abhiyaan — about utilizing the stunting metric to determine the effectiveness of interventions targeting child undernutrition. Since the height of a child is partially genetically determined by the height…

Cross-checking registration mortality rates in Kerala, India with data from MARANAM study confirms that civil registration systems are improving

Head shot of Aashish Gupta

Accurate vital statistics, such as birth and death records, are essential in order to identify mortality risk factors and monitor the performance of health policies. Although mortality registration has historically been incomplete in many low- and middle-income countries, there are signs that it’s improving. Harvard Pop Center Bell Fellow Aashish Gupta, PhD, has co-authored a study that utilizes individual-level registration data from Kerala MARANAM (Mortality and Registration Assessment and Monitoring)…

Gender norms in rural north India may play role in slow adoption of cleaner, government-endorsed fuel sources for cooking

Head shot of Aashish Gupta

Harvard Bell Fellow Aashish Gupta, PhD, and colleagues have published a study in World Development that indicates that despite the government promoting the uptake of cleaner fuel (liquid petroleum gas) for cooking in rural north India, the majority of households are still using solid fuel, which poses health risks due to air pollution.

Mass vaccination campaign in India may have contributed to spike in cases

Headshot of Professor Subramanian

Professor S (Subu) V Subramanian, PhD, has authored a comment in The Lancet Global Health in which he cautions that the mass vaccination campaign in India may have contributed to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases there. He urges leadership in India to rethink its vaccination strategy to reduce virus spread by preventing overcrowding and enforcing non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as masking and social distancing, at vaccination centers. On IndiaToday.com, Subu…

“In India, anything and everything is a super-spreader event”

Headshot of Professor Subramanian

Harvard Pop Center faculty member S (Subu) V Subramanian, PhD, tells The Harvard Gazette that “in India, anything and everything is a super-spreader event.” A visualization dashboard of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in India by Subramanian’s Geographic Insights Lab was also cited by The New York Times in an article describing the recent and devastating surge of infections in the county.

First study to map child undernutrition in India by village shows greatest variation at these micro levels

Screenshot of website dashboard for villages in India

A study published in PNAS by Harvard Pop Center Visiting Scientist Rockli Kim, ScD, faculty member S V Subramanian, PhD, and colleagues that utilizes “state-of-the-art data science techniques” to map and predict child undernutrition across the nearly 600,000 villages in India now provides governments at the most local level with this critical information about their constituents. To learn more about the potential value of such breakthrough, precision mapping, read the…

Geographic Insights Lab rolls out two new interactive dashboards: one for tracking NFHS data in India, the other for COVID-19 vaccination by U.S. congressional district

Geographic Insights Lab Logo

The National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) provides critical data on India’s health, nutrition, and population indicators. The Government of India utilizes many of these indicators to formulate policies and track its progress. The team at Geographic Insights Lab presents an interactive dashboard that systematically allows multiple stakeholders to compare 55 indicators for 300+ districts in India.  These indicators can also be compared across 300+ Parliamentary Constituencies in India with…

Geographic Insights Lab presents LIVE COVID-19 vaccine rollout dashboard for India by state

Dashboard of the COVID-19 vaccine tracker in India

The Geographic Insights Lab is an initiative committed to improving public policies by honing in on targeted geopolitical units (such as congressional districts in the U.S. and parliamentary constituencies in India) in order to mine more precise population health and development data. This Lab, led by S V Subramanian, professor of population health and geography at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has launched a new project that provides…