NIAS Wednesday Discussion: “Dying in Silence: A Study on Mortality-Morbidity Gap in India”, By Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 09.30hrs

NIAS Wednesday Discussion



Dying in Silence: A Study on Mortality-Morbidity Gap in India



Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan

Assistant Professor, Energy and Environment Research Programme, NIAS


Chairperson: Abha Rao, Assistant Professor, NIAS-UNDP Policy Research Initiative on Inequality and Human Development Programme, NIAS, .


Date and Time: 1st February, 2017, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 9:30 Hrs


Abstract: Self-reported morbidity i.e. measure of incidence of disease based on reported sickness has an element of subjectivity. This is so, as ‘feeling of being sick’ is characterized by adaptive preferences, health awareness and access to medical facilities for diagnosis of the ailments. Sen in his 2002 article ‘Health: perception versus observation’ has argued along similar lines that an individual’s assessment of their health—which is the “internal view of health”— is directly contingent on their social experience; socially disadvantaged individuals will fail to perceive and report the presence of illness or health-deficits. Hence, measures of morbidity at times produce wicked gradients with the better-off reporting worse health status than the poor. However, mortality or death, observe no such tendency. Unlike morbidity, mortality is an objective measure based on “external assessment of health” and it is higher for poor and lower for better-off. In India, there are evidences of regions where the reported morbidity is higher, yet the mortality is low and vice versa. For instance, Uttar Pradesh (UP) has reported morbidity of 102 per thousand, which is far below Kerala’s figure of 251—the highest among States in India. However, in terms of under-five child mortality, Kerala has the lowest value at 16.3 whereas UP has the highest at 94.2 (2004 data).

This opposing observation in morbidity and mortality is a clear indication of lack of health-expectations in backward regions and underreporting of ailments resulting into a greater toll of death in the silence. Motivated from these evidences and from the fact that there is a dearth of literature on exploring the relation between morbidity and mortality in Indian context, this paper studies the difference between morbidity and mortality for Indian States by conceptualizing a measure, namely, Mortality–Morbidity Index (MMI). Using data from National Sample Survey, the paper analyses MMI for different Indian States.


To know about the speaker click here: Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan


All are cordially invited

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For further details, please contact Prof. Sangeetha Menon [ or], Coordinator for Wednesday Discussion Meetings.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017