22 August, 2012

Child Spacing and Reproductive Health in Rural Karnataka, India : From Research to Action

Child Spacing and Reproductive Health in Rural Karnataka, India : From Research to Action

By- Inge Hutter, N.V. Rajeswari, J.S. Hallad and B.M. Ramesh

While quite a lot is known about child spacing and survival chances of children, much less is known about child spacing and women’s health.

The book describes child spacing behaviour of women in rural Karnataka, South India, as embedded in the economic and socio-cultural context in which women live. Adopting a life course perspective, child spacing is related to other events in the reproductive career (first menstruation, marriage) and  reproductive health issues such as sexuality and contraceptive use. Women marry early, have their children and then often opt for sterilization. Modern spacing methods are hardly used: women think they have negative effects on their health status which is already low. Women indicate that the most important health problems for women in the villages are related to pregnancy and delivery, white discharge and general weakness. Different cultural schemas can be identified, i.e. those of heating (ushna, kaavu) and cooling (tampu) and pollution and purity, motivating reproductive health behaviour such as during menstruation, the use of the oral pill, the treatment of white discharge. Since young married women are fully dependent upon their husband’s family, the role of the mother-in-law becomes quite important. While men are thought by women to have an important influence on their reproductive health behaviour, men turn out to have hardly any knowledge about these reproductive health issues.

The research has provided evidence for the formulation of a health educational campaign, called Spandana, which is a collaboration of the researchers with FPAI Dharwad. The
translation of research into action is also described in this very timely volume.

Inge Hutter, demographer and anthropologist, is Professor of Demography at the Population Research Centre, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Since the 1990s she has conducted research on Indian reproductive health issues.

N.Y. Rajeswari, demographer, was Research Officer at J.S.S. Institute of Economic Research, Dharwad, at time of the research. Now she works at the Indian Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Hyderabad.

Jyothi S. Hallad, a postgraduate in child development, is Research Assistant at the J.S.S.
Institute of Economic Research, Dharwad, Kamataka, since 1996. She conducts research on reproductive health issues.

B.M. Ramesh, demographer and psychologist, was Director of IER at time of the present research. Currently he is Director Monitoring and Evaluation, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, Bangalore.

ISBN 81-7304-714-6 2007 344p. Rs.875/ Pounds 50

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