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Megalithic cultures of central India provide important links between the southern Neolithic-Chalcolithic cultures and the early Historical period (∼500 BC to ∼AD 700) and reveal knowledge of ancient traditions of early inhabitants. Scientific dating of these Megalithic burial sites is a challenging task due to scarcity of dateable material and alterations. Here, we present multiple accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) dates from equine tooth-enamel and organic food remains recovered from pots from Megalithic burials of the Vidarbha region. Using δ13CTOC and δ15N values of organic food remains recovered from pots, we deduced past-diet (palaeo-vegetation) that indicates C4 type of vegetation and thus arid climate during life-spans of these burials. We also analyzed stable δ13C and δ18O isotopes of equine tooth-enamel to investigate hydro-climatic conditions of Maharashtra (Vidarbha region). A total of 10 AMS 14C dates of tooth enamel provide a time range of AD 250–874 for two Megalithic burials. Two AMS 14C dates of organic food remains recovered from pots corroborated aforementioned time-range. The average δ13C and δ18O of equine tooth-enamel samples were −5.3 ± 2.1‰ and −2.9 ± 0.8‰, respectively, both significantly enriched compared to their modern counterparts (−13.7‰ ± 0.7 and −4.3‰ ± 1.1), indicating intense arid conditions in the past.
Despite several efforts by the Government of India, the national burden of anaemia remains high and its growing prevalence (between 2015–2016 and 2019–2021) is concerning to India’s public health system. This article reviews existing food-based and clinical strategies to mitigate the anaemia burden and why they are premature and insufficient. In a context where multiple anaemia control programmes are in play, this article proposes a threefold strategy for consideration. First, except the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey, 2016–2018, which measured Hb concentration among children and adolescents aged 1–19 years using venous blood samples, all national surveys use capillary blood samples to determine Hb levels, which could be erroneous. The Indian government should prioritise conducting a nationwide survey for estimating the burden of anaemia and its clinical determinants for all age groups using venous blood samples. Second, without deciding the appropriate dose of Fe needed for an individual, food fortification programmes that are often compounded with layering of other micronutrients could be harmful and further research on this issue is needed. Same is true for the pharmacological intervention of Fe tablet or syrup supplementation programmes, which is given to individuals without assessing its need. In addition, there is a dire need for robust research to understand both the long-term benefit and side effects of Fe supplementation programmes. Third and final, the WHO is in process of reviewing the Hb threshold for defining anaemia, therefore the introduction of new anaemia control programmes should be restrained.
Recognising the importance of infant and young child feeding practices during the first 2 years of life, the World Health Organization's Global Nutrition Monitoring Framework developed a minimum dietary diversity (MDD) indicator for feeding children aged 6–23 months. MDD is defined as the consumption of food items from five or more groups out of a total of eight food groups. Food intake from less than five food groups is considered minimum dietary diversity failure (MDDF). Using the nationally representative National Family Health Survey (NFHS) dataset, the present study assessed the trend in MDDF between 2005–6 and 2015–16 and the factors associated with MDDF among children aged 6–23 months during 2015–16. The NFHS conducted in 2005–6 and 2015–16 covered a sample of 14 419 and 74 078 children aged 6–23 months, respectively. Overall, the MDDF reduced from 87⋅4 % (95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) 86⋅8 %, 87⋅9 %) in 2005–6 to 80⋅6 % (95 % CI 80⋅1 %, 81⋅0 %) in 2015–16. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that increased child's age, second and third birth order children, higher maternal age and education, mass media exposure of mothers and more than four antenatal care visits had a negative association with the MDDF. Children living in rural areas and residing in high-focus states of India were observed with higher odds of experiencing MDDF. Exposure to community healthcare services was negatively associated with MDDF, and anaemic children were more likely to have MDDF. Socioeconomic status of mothers and children and encouragement of maternal and child healthcare use could be helpful in devising context-specific intervention to mitigate MDDF.
The current study assessed intake of iron-and-folic-acid (IFA) tablet/syrup (grouped into none, < 100 d of IFA consumption or < 100 IFA and ≥ 100 d of IFA consumption or ≥ 100 IFA) among prospective mothers and its association with various stages of low-birth weight (ELBW, extremely low-birth weight; VLBW, very low-birth weight and LBW, low-birth weight) and neonatal mortality (death during day 0–1, 2–6, 7–27 and 0–27) in India.
The cross-sectional, nationally representative, 2015–2016 National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) data were used. Weighted descriptive analysis and multiple binary logistic regression modelling were used.
NFHS-4 covered 640 districts from thirty-seven states and union territories of India.
A total of 120 374 and 143 675 index children aged 0–59 months were included to analyse LBW and neonatal mortality, respectively.
Overall, 30·7 % mothers consumed ≥ 100 IFA in 2015–2016, and this estimate ranged from 0·0 % in Zunheboto district of Nagaland state to 89·5 % in Mahe district of Puducherry of India. Multiple regression analysis revealed that children of mothers who consumed ≥ 100 IFA had lower odds of ELBW, VLBW, LBW and neonatal mortality during day 0–1, as compared with mothers who did not buy/receive any IFA. Consumption of IFA (< 100 IFA and ≥ 100 IFA) had a protective association with neonatal death during day 7–27 and 0–27. Consumption of IFA was not associated with neonatal death during day 2–6.
While ≥ 100 IFA consumption during pregnancy was found to be associated with preventing select types of LBW and neonatal mortality, a large variation in coverage of ≥ 100 IFA consumption across 640 districts is concerning.
With over 1·3 million Anganwadi centres (AWC) (meaning ‘courtyard shelter’), the Indian government runs a nationwide intervention providing nutrition supplement to pregnant mothers to improve the health of their children. Using two successive rounds of the nationally representative cross-sectional National Family Health Survey data (collected during 2005–2006 and 2015–2016) of India, we assessed whether nutrition supplements given to pregnant mothers through AWC were associated with select child health indicators – extremely low birth weight (ELBW), very low birth weight (VLBW), low birth weight (LBW) and neonatal mortality (death during day 0–27) stratified by death during day 0–1, day 2–6 and day 7–27. A total of 148 019 children and 205 593 children were eligible for analysing birth weight and neonatal mortality, respectively. OR with 95% CI, estimated from multivariate logistic regression models, suggest that receipt of nutrition supplements was associated with decreased risk of VLBW (OR: 0·73, 95% CI 0·63, 0·83, P < 0·001), LBW (OR: 0·92, 95% CI 0·88, 0·96, P < 0·001), but not ELBW (OR: 0·80, 95% CI 0·56, 1·15, P = 0·226). Women who always received nutrition supplements during their pregnancy saw lower risk of death of their neonates (OR: 0·67, 95% CI 0·61, 0·73, P < 0·001), including death on day 0–1 (OR: 0·66, 95% CI 0·58, 0·74, P < 0·001), day 2–6 (OR: 0·69, 95% CI 0·58, 0·82, P < 0·001) and day 7–27 (OR: 0·68, 95% CI 0·53, 0·87, P = 0·002). Therefore, nutritional supplementation to pregnant mothers appears to be helpful in deterring various stages of neonatal mortality, VLBW and LBW, though it might not be effective in mitigating ELBW. Findings were discussed considering possible limitations of the study.
This study assessed the prevalence and predictors of receiving iron-and-folic-acid (IFA) supplement by male and female adolescents in two north Indian states.
The UDAYA (Understanding the lives of adolescents and young adults in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh) survey dataset was used. Conducted during 2015–2016, UDAYA was a state representative cross-sectional survey. To recruit sample, UDAYA adopted a multi-stage systematic sampling method with a household selection probability proportional to size. Weighted bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were deployed. The variance inflation factor was estimated to check the presence of multicollinearity among variables included in regression model.
The state of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India.
A total of 10 433 individuals from Bihar and 10 161 individuals from Uttar Pradesh were included, totalling 20 594 individuals (male: 5969, female: 14 625) aged 10–19 years.
Overall, 3·6 % (95 % CI: 2·7, 4·7) of males and 4·8 % (95 % CI: 4·0, 5·7) of female adolescents received IFA supplement in preceding 1 year of survey date. Multivariate results indicate that IFA receipt varied with age, and state of residence among males, whereas religion and mother’s education were associated with IFA receipt among females. Irrespective of sex, adolescents living in rural areas had higher odds of receiving IFA supplement than adolescents in urban setting.
Low coverage in receiving IFA supplement among adolescents is a serious concern for the success of anaemia reduction programme. While designing interventions for overall increase in IFA distribution, the socio-economic factors influencing IFA receipt must be considered.
Background: Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a major global threat to patient safety. Systematic surveillance is crucial for understanding HAI rates and antimicrobial resistance trends and to guide infection prevention and control (IPC) activities based on local epidemiology. In India, no standardized national HAI surveillance system was in place before 2017. Methods: Public and private hospitals from across 21 states in India were recruited to participate in an HAI surveillance network. Baseline assessments followed by trainings ensured that basic microbiology and IPC implementation capacity existed at all sites. Standardized surveillance protocols for central-line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) were modified from the NHSN for the Indian context. IPC nurses were trained to implement surveillance protocols. Data were reported through a locally developed web portal. Standardized external data quality checks were performed to assure data quality. Results: Between May 2017 and April 2019, 109 ICUs from 37 hospitals (29 public and 8 private) enrolled in the network, of which 33 were teaching hospitals with >500 beds. The network recorded 679,109 patient days, 212,081 central-line days, and 387,092 urinary catheter days. Overall, 4,301 bloodstream infection (BSI) events and 1,402 urinary tract infection (UTI) events were reported. The network CLABSI rate was 9.4 per 1,000 central-line days and the CAUTI rate was 3.4 per 1,000 catheter days. The central-line utilization ratio was 0.31 and the urinary catheter utilization ratio was 0.57. Moreover, 3,542 (73%) of 4,742 pathogens reported from BSIs and 868 (53%) of 1,644 pathogens reported from UTIs were gram negative. Also, 1,680 (26.3%) of all 6,386 pathogens reported were Enterobacteriaceae. Of 1,486 Enterobacteriaceae with complete antibiotic susceptibility testing data reported, 832 (57%) were carbapenem resistant. Of 951 Enterobacteriaceae subjected to colistin broth microdilution testing, 62 (7%) were colistin resistant. The surveillance platform identified 2 separate hospital-level HAI outbreaks; one caused by colistin-resistant K. pneumoniae and another due to Burkholderia cepacia. Phased expansion of surveillance to additional hospitals continues. Conclusions: HAI surveillance was successfully implemented across a national network of diverse hospitals using modified NHSN protocols. Surveillance data are being used to understand HAI burden and trends at the facility and national levels, to inform public policy, and to direct efforts to implement effective hospital IPC activities. This network approach to HAI surveillance may provide lessons to other countries or contexts with limited surveillance capacity.
With simultaneous efforts to address a huge burden of malnutrition, especially among children and younger women, India also encounters a mushrooming prevalence of overweight and obesity among the adult population. This study analysed data from two consecutive rounds of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted in 2005–06 and 2015–16, to present the burden of overweight and obesity among adult men and women in India. The findings highlight a rising burden of overweight and obesity, although the level and the extent of change over the study period varied across states. The district-wise analysis revealed geographical clusters of overweight and obesity. Further investigation suggests that overweight or obesity are not exclusive to urban areas, and economically well-off populations are more inclined to be overweight or obese. The trends and patterns of overweight and obesity in India argue for timely public health preparedness and interventions to avoid the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases in India.
Despite a reduction in maternal mortality in recent years, a high rate of anaemia and other nutrient inadequacies during pregnancy pose a serious threat to mothers and their children in the Global South. Using the framework of the WHO–Commission on Social Determinants of Health, this study examines the socioeconomic, programmatic and contextual factors associated with the consumption of iron and folic acid (IFA) tablets/syrup for at least 100 d (IFA100) and receiving supplementary food (SF) by pregnant women in India.
We analysed a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of over 190 898 ever-married women aged 15–49 years who were interviewed as part of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted during 2015–16, who had at least one live birth preceding 5 years of the survey.
All twenty-nine states and seven union territories of India.
Ever-married women aged 15–49 years.
Less than one-third of women were found to be consuming IFA100, and a little over half received SF during their last pregnancy. The consumption of IFA100 was likely to improve with women’s education, household wealth, early and more prenatal visits, and in a community with high pregnancy registration. Higher parity, early and more prenatal visits, contact with community health workers during pregnancy, belonging to a poor household and living in an aggregated poor community and rural area positively determine whether a woman might receive SF during pregnancy.
Continuous monitoring and evaluation of provisioning IFA and SF in targeted groups and communities is a key to expanding the coverage and reducing the burden of undernutrition during pregnancy.
To assess the coverage of the adolescent weekly iron and folic acid supplementation (WIFS) programme in rural West Bengal, India.
We conducted a population-based cross-sectional survey of intended WIFS programme beneficiaries (in-school adolescent girls and boys and out-of-school adolescent girls).
Birbhum Health and Demographic Surveillance System.
A total of 4448 adolescents 10–19 years of age participated in the study.
The percentage of adolescents who reported taking four WIFS tablets during the last month as intended by the national programme was 9·4 % among in-school girls, 7·1 % for in-school boys and 2·3 % for out-of-school girls. The low effective coverage was due to the combination of large deficits in WIFS provision and poor adherence. A large proportion of adolescents reported they were not provided any WIFS tablets in the last month: 61·7 % of in-school girls, 73·3 % of in-school boys and 97·1 % of out-of-school girls. In terms of adherence, only 41·6 % of in-school girls, 38·1 % of in-school boys and 47·4 % of out-of-school girls reported that they consumed all WIFS tablets they received. Counselling from teachers, administrators and school staff was the primary reason adolescents reported taking WIFS tablets, whereas the major reasons for non-adherence were lack of perceived benefit, peer suggestion not to take WIFS and a reported history of side effects.
The effective coverage of the WIFS programme for in-school adolescents and out-of-school adolescent girls is low in rural Birbhum. Integrated supply- and demand-side strategies appear to be necessary to increase the effective coverage and potential benefits of the WIFS programme.
One of the most challenging problems in biomedicine and genomics is the identification of disease biomarkers. In this study, proteomics data from seven major cancers were used to construct two weighted protein–protein interaction networks, i.e., one for the normal and another for the cancer conditions. We developed rigorous, yet mathematically simple, methodology based on the degeneracy at –1 eigenvalues to identify structural symmetry or motif structures in network. Utilizing eigenvectors corresponding to degenerate eigenvalues in the weighted adjacency matrix, we identified structural symmetry in underlying weighted protein–protein interaction networks constructed using seven cancer data. Functional assessment of proteins forming these structural symmetry exhibited the property of cancer hallmarks. Survival analysis refined further this protein list proposing BMI, MAPK11, DDIT4, CDKN2A, and FYN as putative multicancer biomarkers. The combined framework of networks and spectral graph theory developed here can be applied to identify symmetrical patterns in other disease networks to predict proteins as potential disease biomarkers.
To study the magnitude and predictors of underweight, incident underweight and recovery from underweight among rural Indian adults.
Prospective cohort study. Each participant’s BMI was measured in 2008 and 2012 and categorized as underweight (BMI<18·5 kg/m2), normal (BMI=18·5–22·9 kg/m2) or overweight/obese (BMI ≥23·0 kg/m2). Incident underweight was defined as a transition from normal weight or overweight/obese in 2008 to underweight in 2012, and recovery from underweight as a transition from underweight in 2008 to normal weight in 2012. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were employed.
The Birbhum Health and Demographic Surveillance System, West Bengal, India.
Predominantly rural individuals (n 6732) aged ≥18 years enrolled in 2008 were followed up in 2012.
In 2008, the prevalence of underweight was 46·5 %. From 2008 to 2012, 25·8 % of underweight persons transitioned to normal BMI, 12·9 % of normal-weight persons became underweight and 0·1 % of overweight/obese persons became underweight. Multivariable models reveal that people aged 25–49 years, educated and wealthier people, and non-smokers had lower odds of underweight in 2008 and lower odds of incident underweight. Odds of recovery from underweight were lower among people aged ≥36 years and higher among educated (Grade 6 or higher) individuals.
The current study highlights a high incidence of underweight and important risk factors and modifiable predictors of underweight in rural India, which may inform the design of local nutrition interventions.
Information on future intention to use contraceptives is a potential programme indicator for family planning services. Using three consecutive rounds of Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) data collected in 2000, 2005 and 2011, this study examined whether the sex composition of living children and future desire for additional children were associated with the intention to use contraceptives among Ethiopian women aged 15–49 years who were not using any method of contraception at the time of the survey. The pooled multivariate binary logistic regression analysis indicated that between 2000 and 2011, the intentions of non-users to use contraceptives in the future increased significantly. Women who had at least one child (with an equal number of boys and girls, more boys than girls or more girls than boys) who did not want any more children, and those who were unsure about their desire for additional children, showed an increased intention to use contraceptives in the future, compared with those with an equal number of boys and girls who expressed a desire for additional children. Women with no children and who did not want children, or those who were unclear about their future desire, showed a lower intention to use contraceptives, compared with women with an equal number of boys and girls who wanted a child in the future.
To measure the prevalence of self-reported morbidity and its associated factors among adults (aged ⩾15 years) in a select rural Indian population.
Self-reporting of smoking has been validated as population-based surveys using self-reported data provide reasonably consistent estimates of smoking prevalence, and are generally considered to be sufficiently accurate for tracking the general pattern of morbidity associated with tobacco use in populations. However, to gauge the true disease burden using self-reported morbidity data requires cautious interpretation.
During 2010–2011, a cross-sectional survey was conducted under the banner of the Health and Demographic Surveillance System, Birbhum, an initiative of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of West Bengal, India. With over 93.6% response rate from the population living in 12 300 households, this study uses the responses from 16 354 individuals: 8012 smokers, and 8333 smokeless tobacco users. Smokers and smokeless tobacco users were asked whether they have developed any morbidity symptoms due to smoking, or smokeless tobacco use. Bivariate, as well as multivariate logistic regression analyses were deployed to attain the study objective.
Over 20% of smokers and over 9% of smokeless tobacco users reported any morbidity. Odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) estimated using logistic regression shows that women are less likely to report any morbidity attributable to smoking (OR: 0.69; CI: 0.54–0.87), and more likely to report any morbidity due to smokeless tobacco use (OR: 1.68; CI: 1.36–2.09). Non-Hindus have higher odds, whereas the wealthiest respondents have lower odds of reporting any morbidity. With a culturally appropriate intervention to change behaviour, youth (both men and women) could be targeted with comprehensive tobacco cessation assistance programmes. A focussed intervention could be designed for unprocessed tobacco users to curb hazardous effects of tobacco use.
India’s poor performance on critical food and nutrition security indicators despite substantial economic prosperity has been widely documented. These failings not only hamper national progress, but also contribute significantly to the global undernourished population, particularly children. While the recently passed National Food Security Act 2013 adopts a life-cycle approach to expand coverage of subsidized food grains to the most vulnerable households and address food security, there remains much to be desired in the legislation. Access to adequate food for 1·24 billion people is a multifaceted problem requiring an interconnected set of policy measures to tackle the various factors affecting food and nutrition security in India. In the present opinion paper, we discuss a fivefold strategy that incorporates a life-cycle approach, spanning reproductive health, bolstering citizen participation in existing national programmes, empowering women, advancing agriculture and better monitoring the Public Distribution System in order to fill the gaps in both access and adequacy of food and nutrition.
This paper presents the analysis of a choice experiment designed to estimate willingness-to-pay (WTP) to mitigate damages caused by invasive plant species in a rural community of Nepal. In order to address the cash constraints problem in a subsistence economy, two payment attributes, labour contribution and membership fee, were included in the choice sets. The results reveal that rural farmers have significant WTP for forest management activities, in terms of both cash and labour contributions. The results also suggest that rural farmers value their time in this context at a different rate from the current wage rate.
This study explores the prevalence and factors associated with the utilization of maternal and child health care services among married adolescent women in India using the third round of the National Family Health Survey (2005–06). The findings suggest that the utilization of maternal and child health care services among adolescent women is far from satisfactory in India. A little over 10% of adolescent women utilized antenatal care, about 50% utilized safe delivery services and about 41% of the children of adolescent women received full immunization. Large differences by urban–rural residence, educational attainment, religion, economic status and region were evident. Both gross effect and fixed effect binary logit models yielded statistically significant socioeconomic and demographic factors. Women's education, wealth quintile and region are the most important determinants for the utilization of maternal and child health care services. Health care programmes should focus more on educating adolescents, providing financial support, creating awareness and counselling households with married adolescent women. Moreover, there should be substantial financial assistance for the provision of delivery and child care for married women below the age of 19 years.
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