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Women's Health and Poverty Alleviation in India   
Women's Health and Poverty Alleviation in India

K.S. Mohindra

Hard-bound Book (6¼" x 9¼") :   Pages : 150
2009  Edition   :  ISBN - 978-81-7188-714-9
Price : INR 595 / US $ 35.95
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Poverty and ill health are intertwined; therefore, social responses need to address the links between the two. There has been increasing attention paid towards the role of microcredit as a poverty alleviation strategy (that especially targets women), yet little scrutiny of how microcredit may influence population health in general and women's health in particular. In this book, we ask: can microcredit be considered a “pro-health” poverty alleviation strategy for women? Using a multi-disciplinary approach, the linkages between poverty alleviation and women's health are investigated from both a theoretical and empirical perspective. The theoretical perspective draws upon Amartya Sen's capability approach and population health models and theories. The empirical perspective is based on a study examining female participation in self help groups (a form of microcredit) and their health in the South Indian state of Kerala.

  Reviews / opinions:    

A much needed work on poverty and ill-health... a must for those who are first and foremost concerned about health of populations.

Rajkumari Shanker
PhD, Senior Policy Analyst, Strategic Policy and Performance Branch, Canadian International Development Agency, Canada.

Empowerment beyond numbers: this is one of the powerful messages that one is left with after reading this rigorously crafted book. K.S. Mohindra recognizes the intricate and complex nature of development processes which lead to the undeniable conclusion that women must become actively engaged as socio-political actors in the fight against poverty. The unique contribution of the work presented in this book is that substantive changes and adaptation of the knowledge base continue to be required, not only at the state level in countries such as India when it comes to health issues, but at all levels requiring an accounting of the conditions and circumstances of women’s lives, both at home and in their communities.

Professor Bilkis Vissandjée,
School of Nursing, University of Montreal, Canada.

K.S. Mohindra explores the links between microcredit and women’s health in India. South Asia and other regions of the developing world have witnessed a veritable explosion of organizations seeking to support the latent entrepreneurial skills of poor women through microcredit provision. Mohindra provides empirical research on the less-documented relationship between women’s participation in self-help groups and opportunities for better health as well as reflection on the conceptual underpinnings and assumptions of microcredit. Both are timely and necessary to better understand the benefits and costs of the global microcredit phenomenon.

Bipasha Baruah,
PhD, Assistant Professor of Geography, Associate Director of Yadunandan Centre for India Studies, California State University, USA.

This pioneering book provides a theoretical framework, drawing from Amartya Sen's capability approach and public health and health economic models, and applies this framework for an empirical investigation of women's health. This volume makes for stimulating reading and provides important contributions for public health researchers and development specialists in India and abroad.

C.U. Thresia,
PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, India.



K.S. Mohindra, is currently Global Health Post Doctoral Fellow (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) at the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia and is affiliated with the International Health Unit, Centre de rehcerche du CHUM. She was previously a research associate with the International Development Research Centre (1999-2001) and has worked on collaborative research projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. She holds a PhD in public health from the Université de Montréal. This, her first book, is based on her doctoral dissertation, which won the 2007 Quebec Population Health Research Network prize of excellence.


List of Tables, Figures and Annexures



1. Health and Poverty

Points of Departure

Overview of the Problem

Selecting a Poverty Alleviation Strategy for Investigation


Organisation of the Book

2. Women’s Health in India

The Sociocultural Context of Women’s Health in India

Women’s Health

3. Microcredit Participation and Health

Poverty Alleviation Strategies (PAS)

Microcredit-Health Linkages: Building an Evidence Base

Review of Literature

4. Microcredit Participation and Health: A Theoretical Framework

Theoretical Foundations

Pulling it All Together: Capability, Health Production and Pathways

Further Considerations

5. A Study of Female Self Help Groups in Northern Kerala

Research Objectives and Hypotheses

Context of the Study



Key Findings

SHG Participation and Health Determinants


6. Women’s Health and Poverty Revisited


A Capability Approach to Health: The Challenge of its  Operationalisation

Poverty and Health: An Interventionist Perspective




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