USAID: Health Issues and Health Seeking Behaviour of Tribal Population in Jharkhand
Jharkhand is home to over 30 tribes constituting 26.3 percent of the total population of the state, as per Census of India, 2001. Due to the gaps in information available on the health practices and service utilization of the tribal population in Jharkhand, there have been constraints in addressing their requirements through appropriate policy measures and service delivery. The second phase of the Innovations in Family Planning Services Project (IFPS) focuses on improving access to affordable quality family planning, reproductive and child health services. Creating demand for reproductive health services and products, as well as stimulating health behaviour change is one of the key focus areas of the IFPS project.
We are glad that the Government of Jharkhand in collaboration with ITAP (IFPS-II Technical Assistance Project) has taken this pioneering initiative to carry out a comprehensive qualitative assessment study to understand and analye the health seeking behaviour of the major tribal groups, with a focus on the traditional system of healing. The study looks at identifying the key behaviours, traditional rituals, beliefs, practices and remedies (specifically related to reproductive and child health) followed by the Santhal, Munda, Oraon and Ho tribal groups, in the Santhal Pargana and South Chhotanagpur regions.
There has also been an attempt to grasp the interplay of the physical and political environment within which these select tribal groups live. The report explains the underlying barriers of geographic access, economic constraints and specific cultural issues which need to be addressed to improve health service utilization by the tribal groups. We are confident that this study will help boost and guide the state initiatives in ensuring �Health for all�.
Kerry Pelzman Director Office of Population, Health and Nutrition USAID/India
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