New policy brief series by India Policy Insights team delivers concise analysis of key performance indictors for five national programs sponsored by Indian government

Box plot graph for India Policy Insights' policy brief

The government of India has invested in programmes to help the states and districts achieve performance goals set to address everything from health issues (such as reducing anemia, stunting and low birth weight) to issues around gender inequity and women’s empowerment through education. But how can it be determined if India’s districts are achieving these goals? Now, a new policy brief series produced by India Policy Insight‘s team helps shed…

Can India’s Health Information Management System (HMIS) data be relied upon for estimates of population-level birth and child mortality rates?

A series of graphs that compare neonatal mortality rates from HMIS administrative data to national survey data in India

This study is one of the first to compare facility-based, administrative health data on births and child deaths to birth and death vital statistics from the more commonly relied upon nationally representative surveys, such as the Sample Registration System and the National Family Health System, at national and state levels over a four-year period. Although the study authors (including Pritha Chatterjee, Harvard Bell Fellow Aashish Gupta, and HCPDS faculty member…

JAMA study findings call for more targeted interventions in LMICS for malnutrition and infections for children under age 2, as well as for pregnant women

Newborn baby sleeps on the forearm of a man

An original investigation of 77 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) published in JAMA Network found that 82% of under 5 child deaths occurred before age 2, with over half occurring in the neonatal period. Authors include faculty member S (Subu) V Subramanian, visiting scientist Rockli Kim, and their colleagues Omar Karlsson and Andreas Hasman. The study also spotlights diarrhea and pneumonia as two significant causes for child death over 2…

International Money Fund: Are the tradeoffs fair and acceptable when it comes to population health?

Photo of International Monetary Fund lettering on side of building

A study published in World Development by three researchers affiliated with the Harvard Pop Center (former Bell Fellow Adel Daoud, faculty member S V Subramanian, and the 2017 recipient of the Sissela Bok Ethics and Population Research Prize Anders Herlitz, reviews already existing policy-evaluation studies, finding that International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies “on balance show that IMF policies, in their pursuit of macroeconomic improvement, frequently produce adverse effects on children’s…

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…

Better than average… study applies complex variance modelling to more accurately assess treatment effects of the Head Start program

Road sign that says "average"

When assessing the effectiveness of a large-scale, federally funded program such as Head Start—a program designed to better prepare children ages 3-5 from low-income families for school—it is limited to only look at the Average Treatment Effect given the “considerable systematic heterogeneity within population between individuals.” This study applies complex variance modelling, an extension of multilevel modelling, to capture the variance, as well as the mean, in order to shed…

First-ever dashboard displaying life expectancies on the U.S. Congressional District level

Dashboard showing life expectancy by U. S. Congressional District

Despite persistent health disparities in the United States, health data on the Congressional District level continues to be meager. “As our nation transitions towards recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and reducing health disparities, it is imperative for politically relevant public health data to be available in a clear and direct manner,” said Dr. S.V. Subramanian, Harvard Pop Center faculty member and one of the leading researchers at the Geographic Insights…

India Policy Insights designated a “Key Initiative” for the Government of India

Screen shot of Policy Tracker dashboard

India Policy Insights (IPI), the flagship project of the Geographic Insights Lab at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, has been designated as a Key Initiative of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), the official policy design and innovation think tank for the Government for India. This partnership will allow NITI to strengthen its monitoring capacity by leveraging IPI’s online geo-visual data platform that synthesizes and visually…

Mobility between neighborhoods found to play significant role in race and class disparities in COVID-19 infection

Neighboor hood with a insert of hand on a cell phone

While it is well documented that neighborhood plays a role in the risk of COVID-19, a paper published in Science now sheds light on the pathways of possible transmission by using data from mobile phones to capture the neighborhoods visited by residents, and the neighorhoods of those who visit. Harvard Pop Center faculty members S V Subramanian and Rob Sampson are among the authors on the paper.

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…