Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 435
Monsoon Diseases in Lower Kuttanad (Kerala):
An Environmental Perspective
Bejo Jacob Raju
This paper attempts to trace the change in the epidemiology of monsoon diseases (communicable diseases that show high occurrence during the monsoon) in the Lower Kuttanad region of the Kuttanad Wetland Ecosystem (Kerala). Change in the epidemiology of climate sensitive diseases in an environment sensitive hotspot can be validated only if the environmental history and changes in the geography of the region are traced. The changes in the geography of the study area are traced with the help of Global Information System (GIS). The occurrences of monsoon diseases were captured by IDSP data. The results were subsequently supplemented with the review of published literature and archival reports and in parallel, the perception of the local inhabitants regarding the changes in the geography of the region and its linkages to disease epidemiology are traced through oral history methods. The key informants (on the basis of traditional occupational divisions) from the villages in Lower Kuttanad were identified for the oral history. The results from the study reveal signs of ecological degradation in Kuttanad wetland. The narratives from the field visits connect changes in disease epidemiology to the changes in the geography of the study area.