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Diseased, Ignored and Suffering Silently : A look into the Health Status of Adivasi Women in Jharkhand
New Delhi, November 2, 2017 : In his address to the nation on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about his resolve to build a Divya and Bhavya Bharat by creating opportunities for the youth and women and focusing on inclusive development, with safe housing and food security for the poor.
But has Modi ji forgotten about the depleting health status of the people in the south eastern part of the country, particularly the Adivasi populations?
Stemming from a region where people struggle to avail basic necessities how does Modi ji expect the youth to create jobs, when they are not even literate and healthy in the first place?
The health status of Adivasi women and communities in India is in need of special attention. One of the poorest and most marginalized communities in India, the tribal population continues to fight extreme levels of health deprivation, with women and children being most vulnerable.
Health Status of Adivasi Women
Due to rampant poverty, affording fruits and milk for sustenance is an issue affecting the health status of Adivasi women and communities. Additionally, most of the food is served to the male members, who are the bread-earners. As a result, the women have to survive on paani-bhaat (a dish made of stale or leftover rice and water) and saag made from drumstick leaves.
With little to no choice to avail other food items, they fail to meet adequate nutritional requirement for their bodies.
According to Archana Kisku, a General Nursing Midwife (GNM) at the Community Health Centre at Dumka district in Jharkhand, even water intake among Adivasi women is lower than what is required which makes them anemic.
“Most of the health centres at the block level in the state do not have blood banks and therefore these women have to be referred somewhere else,” Archana told ANI.
Multiple studies on the maternal health and health status of Adivasi women show poor nutritional status that continues to worsen, along with high rates or morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, tribal states of India record lower utilization of antenatal and postnatal services which can be attributed to illiteracy, monetary reasons, non-availability of services and even deep rooted cultural beliefs.
If you believe these conditions prevail only in Jharkhand, you are wrong. According to a study published in 2016, it was revealed that 80 per cent of the tribal women in Maharashtra’s Melghat area weighed less than 50 kg. ‘Starvation deaths’ continue to affect the health status of Adivasi women, with cases being reported even in advanced states like Kerala.
Thus, it must be realized that malnutrition and anemia are major problems affecting the health status of Adivasi women, irrespective of the area they reside in. However, it must also be noted that the problem is worse in states like Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh.
Health Problems Faced By Adivasi Population
While malnutrition and anemia continue to be the most reported cases, tribal populations are also faced with several endemic infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and diarrhea, resulting in untimely deaths. According to a report published in The Hindu in 2016, the Sahariya tribe of Madhya Pradesh was reported to have the highest rates of tuberculosis in India.
Reasons for Poor Health Status of Adivasi Women
The main factors responsible for deteriorating health conditions of India’s Adivasi population can be attributed to
- Questionable living conditions
- lack of health education and literacy in general
- absence or inaccessible healthcare facilities
The Adivasis are traditionally hunter-gatherers and depend upon the rich forests for their daily source of nutrients. Shifting to government schemes, like the Public Distribution System (PDS) takes them away from their natural state of being, replacing their diverse dietary food consumption in a forest to more restricted packages provided by the government.
Additionally, displacement from their traditional living conditions in forests puts them in a difficult situation, as the Adivasi’s struggle to survive on more ‘urban’ lands.
A major transition in livelihood affects the health status of Adivasi women and men, which then takes a toll.
Adivasi Women During Pregnancy and Childbirth
In an interview to ANI, Archana said, “Adivasi women don’t eat nutritious food during pregnancy and also don’t take iron pills on a regular basis because it is a myth amongst them that they will have problems at the time of delivery of the child due to the pill”.
Nearly 50 per cent of tribal women are known to have haemoglobin deficiency.
The pregnant women in Jharkhand’s Dumka district are found to have only 8 grams of, while 11-14 grams is found in a normal human body. This creates obstructions in childbirth.
Adivasi households are known to rear pigs and goats which diminishes their calcium requirement. Additionally, the womenfolk indulge in labor work and fetch water from far off distances which often result in miscarriages.
Adivasi Women and Anemia
As per figures from the National Family Health Survey 2015-2016, 71.5 per cent children between the ages of 6 to 59 months in rural areas of Jharkhand were found to be anemic. Furthermore, it was revealed that 67.3 per cent women within the age bracket 15-49 suffered from anemia.
Shockingly, this figure rose to a staggering 85 per cent in case of Adivasi women.
Nutrition, especially of the women, is of least importance in Adivasi communities, which when combined with poverty, lack of awareness and accessibility, create innumerable problems and negatively affect the health status of Adivasi women.
Anemic women naturally cannot be expected to have healthy children, which is why a negatively spiraling trend can be observed in India’s tribal population’s health.
Adivasi Women and Malnutrition
According to Dr Jugal Kishore, Director of Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, malnutrition is a major cause of deaths in India. He observes that one in every three women in India suffer from anemia. The case is worse in Jharkhand where three out of four women are anemic.
As the Adivasi women continue to be anemic, their children are also malnourished.
In a conversation with ANI, State Adviser of the Supreme Court in Jharkhand, Balram revealed the piteous state of pregnant women and nursing mothers who are unable to get adequate nutrition.
He pointed out that these women are unable to receive due benefits of government schemes due to their improper implementation. “Food Safety regulations are being overlooked. In Anganwadi centres there is no proper record maintained of how the health of children suffering from malnutrition is monitored,” he said.
Culture Has A Role To Play Too
Adivasi women continue to depend on midwives to do their deliveries, instead of going to health centres or hospitals. It is also a common belief that consumption of iron or pills would hamper the health status of Adivasi women and their children.
Due to the customs and traditions being passed on over generations, some Adivasi women do not breastfeed their new born after birth, which gravely affects the health of the mother and child alike.
Many such cultural practices also support the proliferation of malnutrition among the Adivasi populations.
State of Public Healthcare Facilities
Despite establishment of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) in tribal areas, quality healthcare is still a dream for India’s tribal population.
These PHC are often at a dearth of doctors and trained paremedics. The non-availability of essential drugs, and proper infrastructure further worsen the case.
Lack of knowledge and transportation in Adivasi regions is a huge drawback and travelling on foot to the PHC is a restraint for the tribal population which further hinders quality healthcare delivery.
Illiteracy is also a major factor for absence of good healthcare, as Adivasis’ fail to realize the need for healthcare and rights for care-seeking.
Even though the Adivasi community of India is deep rooted in traditions and superstitions, they have relatively accepted modern medicine in the last few years. But access to good health care continues to be a major issue of concern.
What Is The State Doing Regarding The Health Status Of Adivasi Women?
Jharkhand Welfare Minister Dr Lewis Marandi asserted that the state government is constantly making efforts to eradicate malnutrition and anemia, as per ANI report.
For the same, malnutrition centres have been opened in various districts of Jharkhand and the government is additionally providing supplementary nutritious food to children between the age of 6 to 72 months at meager costs.
Dr Kishore believes these supplementary food packages are also being sent for pregnant women, but they are not reaching the intended targets in rural and Adivasi areas.
The Road Ahead
As noted by the United Nations Children Fund, India has the highest tally of malnourished children in India. In this regard, in their efforts of remove malnutrition, the central government plans to introduce schemes guaranteeing increased amount of nutritional supplements to pregnant women and lactating mothers.
The State government has also been instructed to improve and closely monitor the functioning of PHC. Recently, the state government in Chhatisgarh extended livelihood opportunities to Adivasi women by training them to drive e-rickshaws, which are also expected to serve as ambulances in case of emergencies.
Similar initiative must be taken in Jharkhand and other states with Adivasi populations to bring the tribal communities to the mainstream.
However, what is crucial at the moment is for the government to spread awareness about the health of women, which must be given equal attention as the health of men in the Adivasi communities. At the same time, it is important to break the superstitions operational around the health status of Adivasi women.
Eve Yvonne Maday de Maros, the woman who designed the Param Vir Chakra, was born in 1913 in Neuchatel, Switzerland. It was believed that she came to India to understand the country's culture and tradition.
She got to know about India's spiritual and cultural wealth at a very early age through holistic education which she received. Soon, Eve Yvonne fell in love with a Maharashtrian named Vikram Khanolkar, who was a young army officer, and was undergoing training at the Royal Military Academy in the United Kingdom.
Soon, both the persons married, and Eve Yvonne acquired the name Savitribai Khanolkar and shifted to Maharashtra with her husband who by the time became Major General.
Savitribai Khanolkar with husband Major General Vikram Khanolkar.Photo found on Google Images
As Savitribai Khanolkar was already amazed by the rich culture of India, she immersed herself in the study of mythology, traditions, and religious scriptures. Along with this, Savitribai also started indulging herself in the art, music, dance, and linguistics of India.
Parallel to this, India was celebrating its independence from the British rule, and was on its way to remove British legacies and re-establish the country's identity.
This was the time when When Adjutant General Hira Lal Atal was assigned with the task of creating the Indian equivalent of the British Victoria Cross. For this, he took Savitribai in confidence as she had an in-depth knowledge of the nation. Thus, from here began the journey of making the Param Vir Chakra.
The design of Param Vir Chakra was to denote power and sacrifice demonstrated by the soldiers that protected people at the cost of their lives. So, according to Savitribai, nothing could represent in a better way than the great warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji himself. According to the history, the ruler was known for his courage and strategic defence. Hence, his sword 'Bhavani' found a place on the disc, enclosed within the Indian mythical weapon 'Vajra', from both sides. This mythical weapon is believed to be made of a sage's bone in order to kill evil enemies in the name of goodness.
Moreover, the first Param Vir Chakra was awarded on India's first Republic Day celebrated, which was celebrated in 1950, and its recipient was Savitribai's son-in-law's brother, Major Somnath Sharma.
In this world full of technological advancement where everything is now home-delivered, even the most essential beauty services are now available at your doorstep? Let the pampering sessions begin. The whole salon environment at home believes that services at home are undoubtedly the best option during the unusual crisis.
IANSlife brings you the co-founder of YES MADAM, Mayank Arya who speaks of the benefits of at-home salon services.
We all prefer comfort over anything and everything. Nothing is more comfortable than getting everything under your own roof. One of the most amazing perks of subscribing to an at-home salon service provider is that you can watch your favourite TV show or OTT series while having your hair treated or nails done. Amidst, Covid-19 and working from home some of the beauty services can be taken simultaneously. Getting beauty services at your home keeps you relaxed and calm. During festivals when you are already busy the on-demand salon services can do wonders for your mind, body and soul.
Nothing is more comfortable than getting everything under your own roof. | Photo by Inside Weather on Unsplash
Usually many customers have problems related to hygienic surroundings. Of course, they do not know if the place is properly sanitized or not. For such kinds of customers "At home Beauty services" is nothing but the most appropriate option. There is something about being in a familiar environment that makes you feel at total comfort instantly and allows you to enjoy the treatment in a much better way. Create your own bubble with the most appropriate hygienic conditions according to your requirements and take the at-home salon services.
Create your own bubble with the most appropriate hygienic conditions according to your requirements and take the at-home salon services. | Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
The biggest and the major concern during the times of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the duration of time where the whole world is fighting a virus, we all need to be extra careful about exposure to any kind of infection. With at-home salon services, you do not have to expose yourself to dozens of people on your way but you can allow yourself to enjoy excellent services within the safety of your home. With vaccinated beauticians, it becomes much safer to get the treatments done. In at-home salon services, the beauticians wear a PPE kit that includes a mask, gloves, bodysuit, and a face shield. They utilize only monodose (single-use) products. Moreover, they also sanitize the area where the set-up is done to deliver the services.
With at-home salon services, you can allow yourself to enjoy excellent services within the safety of your home. | Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Sometimes, even if you book an appointment, you have to travel a lot far and still the beautician keeps you waiting. The in-house beauty treatment services are much more flexible. It's all up to you, one can book the date and time whenever they need the service, and the beautician will be there at your doorstep. If it is a busy week or an impromptu decision, one can always rely on the on-demand salon services.
. The in-house beauty treatment services are much more flexible. | Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
The session with family and friends
Who doesn't love to gossip around and chill with friends and family while getting their manicure and pedicure done? There are so many nosy customers while you visit the salon that just kills your buzz. But a salon at home with your friends and family especially during the times of festivals provide you with the most relaxing and happy vibes.
A salon at home with your friends and family especially during the times of festivals provide you with the most relaxing and happy vibes. | Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash
With the up-gradation in technology, the on-demand salon services do not let you pile up the house chores. While you are working from home and want to get your house festive ready with services like pest control, sanitization, sofa cleaning, carpet cleaning, kitchen cleaning, bathroom cleaning at-home services like Yes Madam always keep you sorted.
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: salon, pandemic, safety, hygiene, family, friends, comfort
By Aishwarya Jain
According to the World Happiness Report 2021 which was released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Finland was once again crowned as the world's happiest country. India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the list of UN World Happiness Report 2021. To make society happy, firstly it is really important to spread awareness on how it is okay to relax, chill and take a break. People tend to normalise overworking, which is so wrong. Of Course, we need a job to live and sustain ourselves but you shouldn't be working yourself to death, and the fact that this is seen as normal is really worrying. You spend more hours at work than you do awake at home, so if those hours are drenched in misery then sadness basically becomes the norm. A study from Gallup (2017) found that happier employees were more engaged, which resulted in improved customer relationships, and a 20 percent increase in sales.
Also, lowering down the crime level would act as a major factor towards a happy society. People who witness crimes, or come across evidence of a crime in their local area, can suffer anxiety and may feel demoralised or powerless. We should also teach them to stop judging people by materialistic things and accept everyone with all their flaws. Media plays an important role in making society happy because they have the power of reaching out to billions of people and helping them out through a solution-based approach.
Media plays an important role in making society happy because they have the power of reaching out to billions of people and helping them out through a solution-based approach. | Photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash
As per Aishwarya Jain, the Founder of IM Happiness, a social community that works to increase awareness of mental well-being, "Every great leader always talks about building a happier society from Chanakya to J.R.D. Tata. As J.R.D Tata said, "I do not want India to be an economic superpower. I want India to be a happy country". Happiness makes good things happen. It actually promotes positive outcomes. It's high time corporates start taking importance of mental well-being like it's happening around the world. Last week, Nike became the latest company to close its offices for a week to give employees a mental health break. That's after LinkedIn, Bumble, and Hootsuite have all shut down their offices for a week this year to address mental health. I think the global revolution of happiness has started."
Our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive. Yet in today's world, we ironically sacrifice happiness for success only to lower our brain's success rate . When we are happy -- when our mindset and mood are positive -- we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the centre, and success revolves around it. IM Happiness is a community that believes happiness is a skill to be enhanced by training and practice. The team works day and night to help the sufferers get rid of their mental chaos and teach them the skill of being optimistic and happy in every situation, either favourable or adverse. They work on the aim of the United Nations Goals of promoting good health and well-being and have worked closely with the organisation. The team is utilizing the power of Science and Spirituality in achieving this aim.
IM Happiness is initiating a new campaign, 'Hello Happiness'. | Photo by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash
IM Happiness is initiating a new campaign, 'Hello Happiness'. The campaign unites 30+ celebrities from across the country to have a surprise conversation with selected people in India. Ranveer Brar, Daniel Weber, Masoom Minawala Mehta and Ash King are some of the celebrities who will be a part of this campaign. With this campaign, the community wants to help people deal with their emotions and to motivate them. The campaign is free of cost and the nominee just has to register, wherein the unique algorithm will connect the nominee with a celebrity or other mentors on a call according to their keywords.
The community is trying to bring a change but it is the society's accumulative effort to spread awareness and to make oneself happy. We should try to start small and it will eventually make a great difference because a better society allows us to lead a better life.
(Article originally published on IANS by N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keyowrds: Happiness, society, IM happiness, campaign, India, community