A Review on health seeking behavior and reliance on Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM) among Tribal Population of India
Keywords:Traditional Medicine, Tribal population, Health seeking behaviour.Health seeking behavior of tribal population.
Currently in India 8.6% of the population can be categorized as so called “scheduled tribe”, spread across 705 districts of the country. Tribal communities are particularly prominent in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, states located in Northeast India, and also in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. World Health Organization (WHO) categorizes health systems into three groups in terms of the way they treat with traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM). The terms “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine” refer to a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant health-care system. Almost half the population in many industrialized countries now regularly use some form of T&CM (United States, 42%; Australia, 48%; France, 49%; Canada, 70%; and considerable use exists in many developing countries (China- 40%; Chile- 71%; Colombia- 40%; Cambodia-40–50%; & up to 80% in African countries). Average rates of reliance on traditional medicine showed high variation between sites: only 15% of illness episodes in the peri-urban site were treated using traditional medicine, but this figure increased in the sites with more difficult access to public hospitals (31 and 46% for the rural hills and rural mountain sites, respectively). In the context of India, several studies have proved that traditional societies do not get the most needed psychological security in modern medical system as it ignores the cultural components of disease and treatment prevailing in a given society. The causes of ill health perceived by the tribal communities can be divided into two categories, namely, known and supernatural. Health in a tribal society is understood not as phenomena in isolation but in relation to the magico-religious fabric of existence. Thus understanding the culture of tribal groups is important in understanding the concept of tribal health. Health culture of a community is referred to as the ‘cultural factors influencing the health of a community, cultural meaning of health problems, diffusion of health practices from outside, cultural innovations by the current generations to deal more effectively with health problems and the overall health-related behaviour of the community’.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Soumitra Mondal, Sudeepa Ghosh, Rahul Biswas, Saikat Bhattacharya
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