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Concept: Uttar Pradesh


Not all eligible women use the available services under India’s Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), which provides cash incentives to encourage pregnant women to use institutional care for childbirth; limited evidence exists on demand-side factors associated with low program uptake. This study explores the views of women and ASHAs (community health workers) on the use of the JSY and institutional delivery care facilities. In-depth qualitative interviews, carried out in September-November 2013, were completed in the local language by trained interviewers with 112 participants consisting of JSY users/non-users and ASHAs in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The interaction of impeding and enabling factors on the use of institutional care for delivery was explored. We found that ASHAs' support services (e.g., arrangement of transport, escort to and support at healthcare facilities) and awareness generation of the benefits of institutional healthcare emerged as major enabling factors. The JSY cash incentive played a lesser role as an enabling factor because of higher opportunity costs in the use of healthcare facilities versus home for childbirth. Trust in the skills of traditional birth-attendants and the notion of childbirth as a ‘natural event’ that requires no healthcare were the most prevalent impeding factors. The belief that a healthcare facility would be needed only in cases of birth complications was also highly prevalent. This often resulted in waiting until the last moments of childbirth to seek institutional healthcare, leading to delay/non-availability of transportation services and inability to reach a delivery facility in time. ASHAs opined that interpersonal communication for awareness generation has a greater influence on use of institutional healthcare, and complementary cash incentives further encourage use. Improving health workers' support services focused on marginalized populations along with better public healthcare facilities are likely to promote the uptake of institutional delivery care in resource-poor settings.

Concepts: Health care, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Motivation, Incentive, States and territories of India, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh


Effects of water-borne iron on Indian major carps spawn were evaluated in the present study. Ferrous sulphate was used to prepare different test iron concentrations. Mrigal had the lowest 96 h LC(50) value of 0.30 ± 0.06 mg L(-1) while rohu had the highest value of 0.73 ± 0.06 mg L(-1) of iron. Accumulation of iron in mrigal spawn was highest whereas it was lowest in catla. Abnormal behaviour and reduced growth were observed in chronic toxicity. Application factors were calculated to establish acceptable ranges and safe levels.

Concepts: Iron, Toxicology, Uttar Pradesh, Labeo, Cirrhinus, Mrigal, Rohu, Mrigala


In India, quality surveillance for acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), including laboratory testing, is necessary for understanding the epidemiology and etiology of AES, planning interventions, and developing policy. We reviewed AES surveillance data for January 2011-June 2012 from Kushinagar District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Data were cleaned, incidence was determined, and demographic characteristics of cases and data quality were analyzed. A total of 812 AES case records were identified, of which 23% had illogical entries. AES incidence was highest among boys <6 years of age, and cases peaked during monsoon season. Records for laboratory results (available for Japanese encephalitis but not AES) and vaccination history were largely incomplete, so inferences about the epidemiology and etiology of AES could not be made. The low-quality AES/Japanese encephalitis surveillance data in this area provide little evidence to support development of prevention and control measures, estimate the effect of interventions, and avoid the waste of public health resources.

Concepts: Public health, Epidemiology, Greek loanwords, Encephalitis, States and territories of India, Uttar Pradesh, Gautama Buddha, Kushinagar


The collapse of the Bronze Age Harappan, one of the earliest urban civilizations, remains an enigma. Urbanism flourished in the western region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain for approximately 600 y, but since approximately 3,900 y ago, the total settled area and settlement sizes declined, many sites were abandoned, and a significant shift in site numbers and density towards the east is recorded. We report morphologic and chronologic evidence indicating that fluvial landscapes in Harappan territory became remarkably stable during the late Holocene as aridification intensified in the region after approximately 5,000 BP. Upstream on the alluvial plain, the large Himalayan rivers in Punjab stopped incising, while downstream, sedimentation slowed on the distinctive mega-fluvial ridge, which the Indus built in Sindh. This fluvial quiescence suggests a gradual decrease in flood intensity that probably stimulated intensive agriculture initially and encouraged urbanization around 4,500 BP. However, further decline in monsoon precipitation led to conditions adverse to both inundation- and rain-based farming. Contrary to earlier assumptions that a large glacier-fed Himalayan river, identified by some with the mythical Sarasvati, watered the Harappan heartland on the interfluve between the Indus and Ganges basins, we show that only monsoonal-fed rivers were active there during the Holocene. As the monsoon weakened, monsoonal rivers gradually dried or became seasonal, affecting habitability along their courses. Hydroclimatic stress increased the vulnerability of agricultural production supporting Harappan urbanism, leading to settlement downsizing, diversification of crops, and a drastic increase in settlements in the moister monsoon regions of the upper Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

Concepts: Agriculture, India, Monsoon, Uttar Pradesh, Indus Valley Civilization, Harappa, Haryana, Rajasthan


Shifting childbirth into facilities has not improved health outcomes for mothers and newborns as significantly as hoped. Improving the quality and safety of care provided during facility-based childbirth requires helping providers to adhere to essential birth practices-evidence-based behaviors that reduce harm to and save lives of mothers and newborns. To achieve this goal, we developed the BetterBirth Program, which we tested in a matched-pair, cluster-randomized controlled trial in Uttar Pradesh, India. The goal of this intervention was to improve adoption and sustained use of the World Health Organization Safe Childbirth Checklist (SCC), an organized collection of 28 essential birth practices that are known to improve the quality of facility-based childbirth care. Here, we describe the BetterBirth Program in detail, including its 4 main features: implementation tools, an implementation strategy of coaching, an implementation pathway (Engage-Launch-Support), and a sustainability plan. This coaching-based implementation of the SCC motivates and empowers care providers to identify, understand, and resolve the barriers they face in using the SCC with the resources already available. We describe important lessons learned from our experience with the BetterBirth Program as it was tested in the BetterBirth Trial. For example, the emphasis on relationship building and respect led to trust between coaches and birth attendants and helped influence change. In addition, the cloud-based data collection and feedback system proved a valuable asset in the coaching process. More research on coaching-based interventions is required to refine our understanding of what works best to improve quality and safety of care in various settings.Note: At the time of publication of this article, the results of evaluation of the impact of the BetterBirth Program were pending publication in another journal. After the impact findings have been published, we will update this article with a reference to the impact findings.

Concepts: Health care, Better, Childbirth, Improve, World Health Organization, States and territories of India, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi


India’s Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS)(1) is an information system for tracking maternal and child health beneficiaries in India’s public health system, and improving service delivery planning and outcomes. This ambitious project was launched in 2009 and currently covers all states in India, but no in-depth assessment of the system has been conducted. This study by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) evaluated the performance of MCTS and identified implementation challenges in areas in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (UP) in December 2012.

Concepts: Health economics, Public health, Health, States and territories of India, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana


Low-resource settings often have limited use of local data for health system planning and decision-making. To promote local data use for decision-making and priority setting, we propose an adapted framework: a data-informed platform for health (DIPH) aimed at guiding coordination, bringing together key data from the public and private sectors on inputs and processes. In working to transform this framework from a concept to a health systems initiative, we undertook a series of implementation research activities including background assessment, testing and scaling up of the intervention. This first paper of four reports the feasibility of the approach in a district health systems context in five districts of India, Nigeria and Ethiopia. We selected five districts using predefined criteria and in collaboration with governments. After scoping visits, an in-depth field visit included interviews with key health stakeholders, focus group discussions with service-delivery staff and record review. For analysis, we used five dimensions of feasibility research based on the TELOS framework: technology and systems, economic, legal and political, operational and scheduling feasibility. We found no standardized process for data-based district level decision-making, and substantial obstacles in all three countries. Compared with study areas in Ethiopia and Nigeria, the health system in Uttar Pradesh is relatively amenable to the DIPH, having relative strengths in infrastructure, technological and technical expertise, and financial resources, as well as a district-level stakeholder forum. However, a key challenge is the absence of an effective legal framework for engagement with India’s extensive private health sector. While priority-setting may depend on factors beyond better use of local data, we conclude that a formative phase of intervention development and pilot-testing is warranted as a next step.

Concepts: Health economics, Medicine, Focus group, Economics, Health care system, Local government, Uttar Pradesh, District


Antibiotic resistance (AR) is often rooted in inappropriate antibiotic use, but poor water quality and inadequate sanitation exacerbate the problem, especially in emerging countries. An example is increasing multi-AR due to mobile carbapenemases, such as NDM-1 protein (coded by blaNDM-1 genes), which can produce extreme drug-resistant phenotypes. In 2010, NDM-1 positive isolates and blaNDM-1 genes were detected in surface waters across Delhi and have since been detected across the urban world. However, little is known about blaNDM-1 levels in more pristine locations, such as the headwaters of the Upper Ganges River. This area is of particular interest because it receives massive numbers of visitors during seasonal pilgrimages in May/June, including visitors from urban India. Here we quantified blaNDM-1 abundances, other AR genes (ARG) and coliform bacteria in sediments and water column samples from seven sites in the Rishikesh-Haridwar region of the Upper Ganges and five sites on the Yamuna River in Delhi to contrast blaNDM-1 levels and water quality conditions between season and region. Water quality in the Yamuna was very poor (e.g., anoxia at all sites), and blaNDM-1 abundances were high across sites in water (5.4 ± 0.4 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1); 95% confidence interval) and sediment (6.3 ± 0.7 log(blaNDM-1·mg-1)) samples from both seasons. In contrast, water column blaNDM-1 abundances were very low across all sites (2.1 ± 0.6 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1)) in February in the Upper Ganges and water quality was good (e.g., near saturation oxygen). However, per capita blaNDM-1 levels were 20 times greater in June in the Ganges water column relative to February and blaNDM-1 levels significantly correlated with fecal coliform levels (r=0.61; p=0.007). Given waste management infrastructure is limited in Rishikesh-Haridwar; data imply blaNDM-1 levels are higher in visitor’s wastes than local residents, which results in seasonally higher blaNDM-1 levels in the river. Pilgrimage areas without adequate waste treatment are possible “hot spots” for AR transmission, and waste treatment must be improved to reduce broader AR dissemination via exposed returning visitors.

Concepts: Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Ganges, Uttar Pradesh, Yamuna


Substantial investments have been made in clinical social franchising to improve quality of care of private facilities in low- and middle-income countries but concerns have emerged that the benefits fail to reach poorer groups. We assessed the distribution of franchise utilization and content of care by socio-economic status (SES) in three maternal healthcare social franchises in Uganda and India (Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan). We surveyed 2179 women who had received antenatal care (ANC) and/or delivery services at franchise clinics (in Uttar Pradesh only ANC services were offered). Women were allocated to national (Uganda) or state (India) SES quintiles. Franchise users were concentrated in the higher SES quintiles in all settings. The percent in the top two quintiles was highest in Uganda (over 98% for both ANC and delivery), followed by Rajasthan (62.8% for ANC, 72.1% for delivery) and Uttar Pradesh (48.5% for ANC). The percent of clients in the lowest two quintiles was zero in Uganda, 7.1 and 3.1% for ANC and delivery, respectively, in Rajasthan and 16.3% in Uttar Pradesh. Differences in SES distribution across the programmes may reflect variation in user fees, the average SES of the national/state populations and the range of services covered. We found little variation in content of care by SES. Key factors limiting the ability of such maternal health social franchises to reach poorer groups may include the lack of suitable facilities in the poorest areas, the inability of the poorest women to afford any private sector fees and competition with free or even incentivized public sector services. Moreover, there are tensions between targeting poorer groups, and franchise objectives of improving quality and business performance and enhancing financial sustainability, meaning that middle income and poorer groups are unlikely to be reached in large numbers in the absence of additional subsidies.

Concepts: Obstetrics, States and territories of India, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Public sector, Franchising


Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections often affect the poorest and most deprived communities. In order to generate reliable data for planning a school based deworming program, we conducted a survey among primary school children studying in government schools in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The objectives of our survey were to estimate the prevalence and intensity of STH infections.

Concepts: India, Primary school, Primary education, School, States and territories of India, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana