Public Health: Key Determinants, Gender, and Equity – syllabus
(IPBH3010 / 3 credits)
This course explores the theoretical link between access to and reliance on Indian public health services and the conceptions of gender justice and community efforts in realizing right to health of individuals and communities in an Indian social context. As one of the fastest growing and most populated countries in the world, India has the potential to have an enormous global impact. However, the country’s future is entirely dependent upon the health of its population, specifically its most vulnerable — and most vital — members: women and children. Indian health indicators show that women contract/experience additional illnesses due to a variety of factors, especially lack of information regarding health and limited access to health services. Discriminatory social practices, from sex selective abortions to malnourishment and maternal mortality, perpetuate inequitable health outcomes and impair women’s abilities to lead healthy lives. To understand how public health policy can be formed and changed to address such sociocultural biases, students learn about the context of India and how local, national, and global actors currently interact with social systems. In particular, students investigate the ways in which India’s rigid social hierarchy leads vast numbers of severely impoverished, malnourished, and marginalized groups and communities to be denied access to appropriate healthcare. The sociocultural context of the delivery of healthcare is examined in order to magnify the complex intersection between age, gender, ability, caste, and rural/urban context in creating vulnerable communities. Excursions to and workshops in urban and rural areas will provide context for understanding the nuances of public health and human rights. Conditions permitting, these unique areas may include Bahraich, Goa, Udaipur, Varanasi, Jamkhed, Dharamsala, and Bangkok and rural Thailand.