Tribal Health and Nutrition

By Dash, Anjali | Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences, June 2014 | Go to article overview

Tribal Health and Nutrition


Dash, Anjali, Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences


Tribal Health and Nutrition

S.N. Chaudhary

Rawat Publications, Jaipur, 2012, Page: 338, Price: 895

The book under review is an outcome of National Seminar on 'Tribal Health and Nutrition' in March 2011 held at Rajiv Gandhi Chair, Barkatullah University, Bhopal. Discussions in this book revolves around issues pertaining to conceptual, theoretical and empirical issues related to tribal health; health and nutritional policies in India, status of tribal health and demographic situation of the Scheduled Tribe in India. In this edited volume, papers are based on tribal culture and health, socio-economic structure of tribal society and health and nutrition, disparity in health care delivery mechanism and tribal health and nutrition policy.

Every culture evolves its own system of medicine in order to treat diseases in its own way. Tribal are facing declining fertility rate and high mortality due to food habits and health practices based on their culture. Their socio-cultural activities revolve around gods and spirits. Thus they have specific gods for their health and disease, for calamities, for the cattle and so on. In most of the tribal community there are number of folklores related to health. Not only in treatment of diseases but also in nutritional status their culture is adversely affecting. Specifically tribal people are mostly depending on forest, so their nutritional status of health is lesser than others. Medical herbs and treatment of diseases and maintaining health are today the source of modern medicine.

Among the tribals, there are group of specialists the priest/magicians or medicine men whose services are sought after depending on the cause of the illness. These are the reasons for that they are not accepting modern medicine. Deforestation adversely affect to their nutritional status. Access to forest resources can affect treatment and nutrition. Traditional knowledge of medicine and health has been time tested over generations. It is a holistic concept over time. Budhadev, support to positive aspect of indigenous traditional medicine. He argues that documentation of traditional knowledge in health and medicine is urgently necessary. On the above backdrop Burman, highlight interface between ethno-medicine among the Bhutias and Lepchas of Sikkim. Ethnic politics culminating into competition with the large scale migrant Nepalese population, the Bhutias and Lepchas have withdrawn back to activism and a distinct shift towards the traditional herbal and medico psychiatric practices can be noticed. Perception of illness is highly culture related while disease is not usual. Spiritual and religious belief of the tribal people adversely affect to the health status. There are various plants of medicine for curacy of diseases. Strings of Snail-Shellr are wirn around the necks and wrists of children for their protection. Among the tribal, failure of the cure did not call for the efficiency of system but on the dissonance of ritual behaviour. In other word compare to allopathic medicines, herbal remedies are cheaper and easily available in the vicinity, which also free from side effect. In KBK district of Odisha this types of practices are more pronounced.

Socio-Economic Structure of the Tribe

Socio-economic condition has impact on health status of any society. More of the tribal people who are living below the poverty line. Their standard of living condition is less compared to other category. Due to lack of income they are unable to get proper nutritious food in that case affordability of health care services also very difficult for them. On the backdrop of this Alok Ranjan Chaurasia analyses living condition of ST and health status among various states by using DLHS data on family suggest for improvement in income level of ST. The impact of the poor living condition of the ST households is well reflected on the health status of the ST women. He has used factor analysis. …

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