Ex Ante Inequality and Under-Nutrition Vulnerability Dynamics: Case Study of the Sundarbans Delta Region, West Bengal, India
Mukherjee, M. (2014) Ex Ante Inequality and Under-Nutrition Vulnerability Dynamics: Case Study of the Sundarbans Delta Region, West Bengal, India. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 5, 1951-1963. doi:10.4236/fns.2014.520207.
In this paper ex ante inequality measure is used to estimate inequality in childhood chronic under-nutrition among different vulnerable subgroups. Ex ante inequality in nutritional achievement is determined by estimating Concentration Index by ranking the sample population as per different contextual absolute and predicted vulnerabilities. Such vulnerabilities include climatic shock induced asset loss, livelihood insecurity, physical accessibility and consumption sacrifice after treatment seeking of children for under-nutrition related morbidities and perception of care givers regarding quality and effectiveness of care provided by unqualified providers. Results found that vulnerability to consumption poverty aggravated chronic under-nutrition among less vulnerable groups mainly among those who perceived that unqualified providers provided quality service and were very effective during crisis. Whereas, vulnerability to investment poverty due to asset loss aggravates chronic under-nutrition among more vulnerable groups as their low economic resilience against any safety net results in no treatment seeking but rely on home remedies to cure the child. Though due to good social cohesion, traditional knowledge and beliefs for treatment are shared among each other but this is not sufficient to break the under-nutrition morbidity vicious circle, especially when the under-nutrition is chronic in nature. So the paper finally suggests several policy suggestions for different vulnerable segments.