Reproductive Epidemiology – syllabus
(IPBH3000 / 3 credits)
This seminar paper explores reproductive epidemiology and its application with specific reference to the contexts of India. The seminar will first acquaint students with basic principles and methods to understand the distribution, determinants, and measures to assess and infer levels of disease and other health-related states at the population level. These epidemiological tools are what provide practitioners and scholars with a scientific basis to design preventive, curative, and rehabilitative programs that rationalize the use of available resources to efficiently and effectively check mortality due to disease or injury, reduce suffering due to illness, address its impacts and enhance the quality of life of social groups, communities, and larger populations.
Through a combination of classroom teaching, field excursions, and workshops, the paper will orient students to a critical appreciation of the epidemiological rationale underpinning the life course approach to reproductive and sexual health in the public health service system in India.
Measures to assess a range of needs—unmet contraceptive and family planning needs and infertility among couples, maternal morbidity and mortality, infant mortality, and adolescent anemia—will help students understand preventive, promotive, and curative reproductive and sexual healthcare delivered through the public health care system, discussed in the course on Right to Health Care and Sexual Minorities.
Through excursions and workshops, students learn from the application of concepts and methodological challenges in reproductive and perinatal epidemiology on the ground to evaluate the contribution of socio-demographic, behavioral, and biological risk factors for adverse outcomes at the community level. These opportunities offer a hands-on learning experience to understand the pathways for epidemiologic associations and how local reproductive and sexual health programs are designed, within limited resources, to address mechanisms that produce sexual and reproductive ill health and mortality.
The course will also serve as an entry point to analyze the omissions and commissions of successive population policies and the synergies sought between maternal, infant, and child health services in India. Through an examination of issues in contraceptive methods available, their safety and utilization; regulatory questions, and ethical dilemmas surrounding assisted reproductive technologies for the treatment of infertility, students are introduced to the gendered nature of scientific knowledge and interventions with respect to reproductive and sexual health care in India.