Traditional and Modern Maternal Child Health Services in Tribal Areas: A Case Study of Dhar District

By Gaur, Parul | Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences, July-December 2008 | Go to article overview

Traditional and Modern Maternal Child Health Services in Tribal Areas: A Case Study of Dhar District


Gaur, Parul, Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences


1. Introduction

Maternal and child health is an important dimension of community health nursing. Health service especially meant for mothers and children is more commonly known as "Maternal and Child Health Services". The mission of maternal and child health is to improve the availability of and access to high quality preventive and primary health care for all women (who belong to reproductive age group i.e. 15 to 45 year) and children regardless of their ability to pay. To accomplish this mission welfare state assumed special responsibility with respect to the weaker sections of society. As such, the tribals living in inaccessible areas and with very poor economic background, deserve special treatment. A lot of work has been done on health planning as an integrated part of overall social and economic planning.

The health services organization in the country has extended from the national level to the sub-centre level in the remote rural areas. Broadly, four levels of health organization may be distinguished--national, state, district and local. The health care system operates in urban areas through a number of hospitals and family welfare centres and in rural areas through a network of Primary Health Centres (PHCs), sub-centres and Anganwaries. Though a vast network of health services infrastructure has been built up to the grass root level, tribals are still in a primitive stage and follow their traditional practices even in term of maternal and child health care, curing themselves by superstitious methods. This unawareness keeps them under unhygienic conditions because of which maternal and child mortality may be higher among them. According to National Family Health Survey -2 India (1998-99)1, children of women belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have higher rates of infant and child mortality than children of women belonging to other backward classes or to women not belonging to scheduled caste or scheduled tribe. According to National Family Health Servey-2 (Madhya Pradesh) (1998-99)2 Madhya Pradesh has the highest neonatal, child and under five mortality rates than any other state in India and even the infant mortality and post neonatal mortality rates are highest in the country. The basic question therefore emerges that in spite of the network provided by the state, why the access and affectivity is so poor at the grass root level. To find out the answer to this question this study was undertaken. The objectives of the study are given below:

(1) To study the status of the traditional and modern maternal and child health services at the family level,

(2) To analyze the perceptions of people about traditional and modern maternal and child health care techniques and facilities,

To achieve these objectives, Dhar District was selected for the study. The study was focused on tribes, so only those blocks of Dhar District were selected in the study where the tribal population was more than 70 per cent. According to census of 2001, there were six blocks in the district where tribal population was more than 70 per cent. These were Bagh, Umarban, Dhai, Gandhwani, Kukshi and Tirla.

In the above six blocks the total number of villages, as per census of 2001, were 615. Out of 615 villages, only medium sized villages with a population of 500 to 2000 were included in the sampling frame. Thus, in the sample, 295 villages were included. The actual selection of 5 per cent villages, i.e., 15 villages was made randomly from the population range of 500 to 1000 and 1000 to 2000 in proportion to the number of villages in each category from 6 designated blocks.

From the selected 15 villages all those available women who were pregnant and had children up to five years were included in the study. The number of such women actually available in the village during the survey was 250; all of them were included in the survey. …

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