Child health status and inequalities in the Indian Sundarbans

Child health is vulnerable in the Sundarbans region due to geographical accessibility problems, climatic challenges and economic vulnerability


The Indian Sundarbans is a unique biosphere reserve of mangrove forests spread across more than hundred islands. Most of the region is intersected by tidal rivers or estuaries and innumerable narrow tidal creeks, and made it largely formidable and inhospitable terrain. The Sundarbans is also home of almost 4.5 million people living in abject poverty, chronic deprivation and acute suffering from climatic adversities. The geographical challenges are part of the lives of the Sundarbans’ population who subsist primarily on agriculture, fishing and collecting forest products.

Child health is extremely vulnerable in the Indian Sundarbans region due to its spatial geographical accessibility problems, climatic challenges and economic vulnerability. It is important to study child health as today’s children will be tomorrow’s citizen. Only if the children are healthy, they will be able join their hands to boost up a country’s income (GDP) in future. Also from a household’s perspective, investing in the health of a child will be beneficial for the parents in their old age. Due to children’s rapid growth and physiological and cognitive development, they are exposed and more vulnerable to physical environmental hazards compared to adults.

The 1,000 days, from start of a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday is a unique window of opportunity to make the children healthier and prosperous in future. This 1,000 day window can also improve society’s long-term health, well-being and prosperity. Improved child health during these 1,000 days has an intense impact on a child’s cognitive ability to grow. It also helps to increase productivity of a child and secure economic prosperity of their families and economy. This paper, hence, will try to see the child health status in the first 1,000 days in the Sundarbans. It will also try to see the inequalities in child health in this area.


Patra, Nilanjan; Mandal, Arnab. (2016) Child Health Status and Inequalities in the Indian Sundarbans. International Journal of Child Health and Human Development. Vol. 9, No. 2

Child health status and inequalities in the Indian Sundarbans

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Published 1 April 2016