Prospective Community Studies in Developing Countries

By Monica Das Gupta; Peter Aaby et al. | Go to book overview

4 Methodology and Main Findings on Child Survival of the Khanna Restudy, 1984-1988

MONICA DAS GUPTA


4.1 Background and Objectives of the Study

This chapter describes the restudy carried out in the eleven villages of Ludhiana District of Punjab State, India, which were originally studied in the Khanna Study by John Gordon and John Wyon in the 1950s (see preceding chapter). The main objective of this restudy was to study the demographic transition taking place in this society, with a focus on the interrelationships between social and demographic change in this society in the process of transition. Thus this study is more rooted in the social sciences than in epidemiology and the medical sciences, as are most of the other major longitudinal studies conducted in developing countries.

India is in the midst of its demographic transition, with overall levels of fertility and mortality rates falling steadily. There are significant regional differences in this process, however, with Northern and Central India lagging far behind the rest of the country in terms of pace of the decline. The position of Punjab as an island of early demographic transition in this region makes it especially important to study from the point of view of learning what might be done to accelerate the transition in the rest of the region.

Punjab is thus intrinsically an interesting location to study. There are also practical reasons which make it a particularly good setting for such a study. First, there is the unusual situation of having a detailed demographic baseline against which to measure subsequent changes, over the long gap of thirty years between the 1950s and the 1980s. Secondly, my own experience of conducting a study of social and demographic processes in a village in the neighbouring region of Haryana made for an easy understanding of the society and previous experience of how to conduct both qualitative and survey-based fieldwork in this region. Punjab and Haryana have a great deal in common both culturally and economically, and indeed were separated administratively only as recently as 1966.

With a tentative plan for a restudy in mind, I asked John Wyon how he felt about such a study. His response was very encouraging. He said that John Gordon was no longer alive, that he himself had no plans to conduct any

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