Institute for Rural Health Studies


The Institute's health-policy research is based on the conviction that an understanding of the agricultural and socio-economic determinants of health and nutrition is an essential prerequisite for effective community development. Research has been carried out with the intention of providing government policy makers the information to make more relevant decisions relating to rural people.

Some of our research projects, either completed or in progress, are as follows:

  • Agricultural and socio-economic determinants of intra-family food distribution in families with young children.
  • The water needs of solely breast fed babies during the hot, dry season.
  • The economic and health consequences of drought: a longitudinal study in rural South India.
  • The age of acquisition of intestinal parasites and the social and biological determinants of intestinal parasitism.
  • Women's employment and its relationship to child health and welfare.
  • Cervical cancer in rural women: a study of the WHO-recommended down staging method versus Pap smears using trained village women.

All but the last of these have focused on families with young children. Nearly all are longitudinal in nature. They have been funded by grants from:

  • The Ford Foundation
  • The United Nations University
  • The Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd through the University of Cambridge
  • The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
  • The International Food Policy Research Institute
  • OXFAM (UK)
  • The Republic of Ireland.
  • The World Health Organization
  • Unilever Research

Research on Health Care Delivery
The Institute has also conducted applied research on ways of increasing access of rural villagers to cost-effective health care. An OXFAM (UK) grant permitted IRHS to study the ability and effectiveness of trained paramedics and community health workers to deliver primary health care in village settings.


Researchers conducting a survey on hand washing