Role of tribal culture in promoting modern health care system among the Santhal tribe of Orissa

Purujit Praharaj, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

Acceptance of modern health care system and medicines among tribal people is continued to be a matter of debate among social scientists, planners and policy makers. The foundation of entire tribal beliefs and practices stand on their parochial perception and action of natural and supernatural entities. They find themselves closely knit with these two entities in every sphere of life. Thus the perception about health and health seeking behaviour of the tribal people obviously is the fusion of these two basic entities. The present study reveals that lack of emotional content and spiritual security in modern health care system mainly stand as barrier in its acceptance among the tribal people. In such an environment, traditional health care system continues to dominate; the traditional healer, who considered as the guardian of tribal society, acts as the medium between man, nature and supernatural entity and provides spiritual security to the tribal people.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Health and ageing