Child Health in the Sundarbans: How Far Do Mutually Reinforcing Shocks Act As Contextual Determinants?
Childhood chronic under-nutrition and common childhood illness are highly prevalent in the delta region of the Sundarbans of West Bengal, India. The present work tested the hypothesis—frequent climatic shock is likely to predispose chronic and transient health shocks through behavioural responses of households in the presence of inaccessibility, inadequacy and acceptability barriers which act in the economy as long wave shocks. The work is based on a household and facility survey; primary data was collected in 19 blocks of the Sundarbans. The results highlight that transient climatic shock make child health worse through the pathway of chronic poverty, low resilience, physical and social barriers to health-seeking as well as ineffective service delivery systems. Further in-depth research is required to understand multiple vulnerabilities, related to coping of households and ways to improve the service delivery mechanism to have healthy children in the Sundarbans in the near future.