Dialogues on Kerala Development #1

Dialogues on Kerala Development is a triennial conference series envisaged to bring together social scientists, academicians and practitioners working on different facets of Kerala’s development. The goal is to facilitate multi-disciplinary deliberations focusing on Kerala’s development issues to contribute towards transformative policy making.

The theme for the Dialogues on Kerala Development #1 is Challenges of Health and Demographic Transition”. The conference is planned to be held at Kerala State Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram on January 12th and 13th, 2023.

Kerala has been a front runner in India with respect to most of the health and health care utilisation indicators across health surveys from time to time. The state has been able to demonstrate performances on indicators such as infant and child mortality which are comparable with much more advanced regions in the world. In terms of demographic transition, Kerala has demonstrated a pattern different from the rest of the country. Thanks to advancements in health and increased life expectancy, the proportion of the elderly is the highest in the country. The epidemiological transition in the state is also quite evident, with a marked difference in the morbidity profile of the state in comparison to the other regions. As understood, such transitions lead to changing demand for health care, and the health systems must be prepared for the same. There are also challenges faced by marginalised communities identified as outliers to the Kerala model of development, i.e., such as tribal groups, fisherfolk, and other vulnerable communities such as migrant workers, persons with disabilities, the elderly, etc. Recent years also brought in its wake colossal challenges in the form of unprecedented natural calamities and a pandemic. Hence the challenges that the state faces are much different from the ones at the national level and deserve a dedicated dialogue. The interventions by the state, as well as national programmes that address different concerns, also need to be studied and discussed in detail. Further, with decentralisation, there are more local-level interventions in the public health system.

Dialogues on Kerala Development 2023 aims to deliberate upon:

  • Demographic transition and implications on health.
  • Preparedness of health systems to address the transition and newer challenges and health shocks.
  • Epidemiological transition and state-specific concerns
  • Multi-sectoral responses towards existing and emerging challenges
  • Differential experiences of diverse groups in navigating through health adversities.
  • Bridging existing evidence gaps through the creation and sharing of knowledge.

Dialogues on Kerala Development #1 will explore the following subthemes

1: Applying an Intersectional Lens to Epidemiological Transition in Kerala.

Changing patterns of morbidity, mortality, fertility, life expectancy – Social demographic and economic dimensions of transition.

Questions that are sought to be addressed include:

  • What are the changes in morbidity, mortality, fertility, life expectancy, etc., that the state has been experiencing?
  • What diseases or health conditions are seen to be on the rise?
  • How has the experience of different health conditions been across different genders, age groups, social groups, regions, etc.
  • What are the programmes in the state that address such epidemiological changes, and what is the status of demand for such programmes and delivery of services?

2: Demographic Transition: Ageing population, Changing Health Needs and Care Provisions

Healthy ageing – Wellbeing – Care arrangements – Elder abuse and neglect

Questions that are sought to be addressed include:

  • What are the health issues observed among the elderly in the state?
  • Are there any age-specific, gender-specific, or region-specific issues that are observed?
  • What care arrangements are available for the elderly in the public and private sector?
  • What are the care needs of the elderly?
  • Are there any interventions that focus on promoting healthy ageing and the wellbeing of the elderly?
  • Cases of elder abuse and neglect and how are they dealt with?

3: Health and Health Care Among Vulnerable Groups

Health issues, health care needs of tribal, fishers, Persons with Disabilities, migrant labourers and other vulnerable groups – Interventions for specific vulnerable populations.

Questions that are sought to be addressed include:

  • What is the status of access to health care among various vulnerable population groups?
  • What is the status of access to specific health care, such as reproductive health?
  • Are there any health conditions observed specifically among any population groups?
  • What are the healthcare needs of the various vulnerable groups?
  • What programmes have been implemented specifically to address health issues of specific populations such as tribal communities, migrant labour, etc.?

4: Health Resilience in the Face of Crisis

Challenges experienced during the pandemic and recent natural calamities – Health system responses – Learnings and adaptive strategies.

Questions that are sought to be addressed include:

  • What is the impact of the pandemic and recent natural disasters seen among different population groups and regions?
  • What measures were taken at the state and local levels to combat these challenges?
  • What are the lessons learnt?
  • What is the sustainability of systems introduced?

5: Health Systems Delivery and Financing

Models of Preventive/Promotive/Curative/Rehabilitative care – Health care delivery at different tiers- Systems in the public and private sector- Programmes intended for specific medical conditions-Local governance and community participation in health care delivery- Medical Pluralism – Out-of-pocket expenditure- Insurance

Questions that are sought to be addressed include:

  • How is the response of the health systems in the state to the changes and challenges?
  • What are the models that have been developed at various tiers?
  • What is the role of the public and private sector in addressing these challenges?
  • How effective has decentralised governance been in understanding local-level health challenges and addressing the same?
  • What is the role of Ayurveda and other traditional and alternate streams of medicine in addressing varying healthcare needs across population groups?
  • How affordable is health care in Kerala?
  • What is the status of health insurance coverage and utilisation of insurance facilities?

We are inviting abstracts of original evidence-based empirical social research conducted in Kerala on the themes listed above. However, this listing is not conclusive, and papers on other dimensions of health and demography in Kerala are welcome. As the event is meant for social scientists, works that take a multi-disciplinary approach to discuss various dimensions would be interesting. Papers which bring out the comparative scenario in Kerala with respect to other regions in the country and abroad are welcome. It will also be interesting to see the dimensions of gender across the domains identified.

Guidelines for sending Abstracts for Paper Presentation

Applicants are requested to submit abstracts of 450-500 words which include the title, authors (list authors in order from the first author to last), background, research methods and results of research or outcome through the google form link given below. The last date for submission of abstracts is 10th November 2022.

For submission of Abstracts click here

Applicants with abstracts selected after review will be contacted by the organising team for submission of full papers. The last date for submission of full papers is 15th December 2022.

Papers presented at the conference will be published by CSES post-conference. All participants presenting papers at the conference will be provided travel and accommodation support, the details of which will be communicated at a later stage.

Applicants submitting abstracts do not have to perform a separate registration.


The conference is open to all and aims to bring together social scientists, academicians, practitioners, executives in the governmental and non-governmental sectors, students and activists working on different facets of Kerala’s development. Those interested are requested to register through the link provided below. Registration fee is excluded from the conference.

Applicants will be separately informed of their confirmation of registration and participation in the conference by the organising team after the registration process is completed.

The last date for registration is 15th December 2022.

For Registration click here

Accommodation facilities will be arranged for the participants who require the same subject to availability. However, the participants are requested to meet their travel expenses.

For further information and in case of any queries, please email us at

Please find the brochure here