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A Geography of Children's Vulnerability: Gender, Household Resources, and Water-Related Disease Hazard in Northern Pakistan

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Abstract:

Water-related diseases continue to pose major threats to children's survival and well-being in many places in the developing world. This article develops a theoretical perspective on the ways in which children's vulnerability to water-related disease hazard is produced within the everyday circumstances of livelihood and child care. Central to this analysis is the role that household resources play in mediating or shaping particular microenvironments of health risk. Further, the effects of local geographies of gender on how household resources are accessed and on how child care is structured are examined. Children's vulnerability is evaluated in a community in the District of Gilgit in northern Pakistan, a region presently undergoing tremendous social and economic transformation. The case study highlights household-level response and adaptation to child health risks associated with diarrheal disease transmission and infection in this mountain environment. The case study draws from ethnographic fieldwork involving qualitative household microstudies and interviewing to elicit mothers' resource and risk-response strategies in the context of changes in livelihood systems and household dynamics.

Keywords: gender; household resources; northern Pakistan; vulnerability; water-related diseases

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0033-0124.5502001

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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