Social Scientist. v 22, no. 256-59 (Sept-Dec 1994) p. 40.

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Gender Implications of New Economic Policies and The Health Sector

Sustained improvement in the health status of a population is not possible merely through interventions in the health sector. The inter sectoral linkages of inputs in education, nutrition, water supply and sanitation in the health transition are well known. The morbidity profile dominated by poverty related diseases underlines the central importance of employment and income variables. In discussing the implications of the policy changes in the health sector, therefore, it is important to locate the discourse in the broader context of the ongoing reforms. It is more important to do so in a discussion of the gender implications.

There is evidence to indicate that the gender gap in health and survival, especially of children, is smaller where "women are economically active, not restricted to the domestic domain and not primarily defined by the number of children they bear."1 Vet the very participation in the outside space can contribute to the deterioration of the health status of women given the multiplicity o^ vy0f^on\ roles. Therefore even in the best of situations with a people uritnted health system, changes in the macro economic sphere can translate, where women are concerned, into greater constraints and intensify the conflict of allocation to time. The extent to which women are stretched will determine the overall health implications for them.

The focus of the this paper is on the gender implications of the ongoing stabilisation and structural adjustment programme. It is in the background of such a discussion that the gender impact of the health strategy envisaged in the World Development Report 1993 is commented upon.

India has embarked upon a course of restructuring its development policy framework since 1991. One may say that the roots of the new

Director uf the Centra for Imagir.^ Technology, Trivandrum.

Social Scientist, Vol. 22, Nos. 9-12, Septerrb." jr>^ 'rhcr

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