Conference Panels

MEDICAL PLURALISM AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE AMONG THE INDIGENOUS POPULATION IN SOUTH ASIA

Co-convenor: H. M. Maralusiddaiah (contact person), Anthropological Survey of India
E-mail: patel.anthro@gmail.com
Co-convenor: H.M. Ganesh, Anthropology, University of Mysore
E-mail: ganesh.mallappa@yahoo.in
Co-convenor: Rajaekhara Reddy, Anthropology, University of Mysore
E-mail: krsreddy@anthropology.uni-mysore.ac.in

Over the last decades, awareness has increased about the phenomenon of medical pluralism and the importance of integrating biomedicine and other forms of health care. The broad variety of healing cultures existing alongside biomedicine is called complementary or alternative medicine in industrialized countries and traditional medicine in developing countries. Indigenous communities throughout the world have medical systems which are heavily based on surrounding nature, supernatural beings and belief systems. With globalization and economic liberalization these medical systems are exposed to other medical systems, including modern bio-medicine. The medical system in the South Asian context is a complex one in the sense that it encompasses a variety of practices that employ magic, religion, physical pressure, plant and animal products and even the allopathic medicine representing medical pluralism. During the course of history Indigenous people have evolved various mechanisms to overcome ill health and disease based on traditional and Indigenous knowledge.

According to the ethnomedical systems of Indigenous peoples various diseases and health disorders are vaguely categorized into infections, nutritional deficiencies, malfunctions of bodily organs and accidental attacks. Though all these diseases are believed to have been caused due to various mystical reasons, the diagnosing practices clearly indicate they are still in search of ascertaining the actual cause of diseases. This can be well established by the fact that the Indigenous people not only observe magico-religious rites to ward off sickness, but they also use a variety of herbal and animal products to get cured. This panel invites papers that seek to investigate medical pluralism and traditional knowledge in the globalizing world, especially regarding the health conditions and health practices of Indigenous populations, both in South Asia and beyond.

  • SESSION 1     Room: G62 ARTS     Tues 5/7/2011     Time: 11.00-12.30     Room Location Map
    • Paper 1: Effect of feeding malted food on the nutritional status of vulnerable groups From Lapashi Mandal in Ananthapur District(Financial support by Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
      • Vijaya Khader, Umamaheswari, Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University
    • Paper 2: The Traditional and Medicinal Knowledge of the Nari Korva Tribe in Tamil Nadu
      • Bhanumathi Govindaswamy, Eflu Emmrc and Thangaiah Vijaya Pushpam, National Institute of Nutrition
    • Paper 3: HEALTH PROBLEMS AND HEALTH SEEKING BEHAVIOUR AMONG RURAL DALIT WOMEN OF PUDHUCHERRY UNION TERRITORY, INDIA
      • Pragati Velurr, Pudhucherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture & Shri Shivananda Swamiji
  • SESSION 2     Room: G62 ARTS     Tues 5/7/2011     Time: 13.30-15.00     Room Location Map
    • Paper 1: Study of Folk Medicine among the Scheduled Tribes of Uttarakhand Himalaya.
      • A.P. Singh, Lucknow University
    • Paper 2: To assess the nutritional status of the Kandha Group and to suggest an intervention strategy to overcome malnutrition
      • Kodali Vijayanthimala, Mahathma Ghandi Institute of Research and Social Action/ Center for Women studies

SESSION 1

Chair:

Paper 1: Effect of feeding malted food on the nutritional status of vulnerable groups From Lapashi Mandal in Ananthapur District(Financial support by Department of Biotechnology (DBT)

Vijaya Khader, Umamaheswari, Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University

Amylase Rich Malted Mixes (ARMM) are two types namely using Ragi / Wheat were formulated and suitable products namely Laddu, Roti, Kheer, and Porridge were prepared using formulated malted mix. The ARMM’s found to be nutritional dense. For the supplementation of malted mixes, S.T.&S.C, families from 8 villages in Ananthapur district were selected. Individual information of preschool children (400), pregnant women (100) and lactating women (100) was collected on anthropometric, hemoglobin, dietary, clinical and morbidity assessments before & after supplementation. Children were selected based on degree of malnutrition (75% to <60) as per Gomez classification and pregnant and lactating women were selected with BMI below <16.0 to 20.0 based on BMI classification (James et al 1988).The selected women and children were divided into 3 groups. Group I fed with ragi malted mix & group II fed with wheat malted mix served as the experimental groups and remaining group served as the control group. Anthropometric data, food intake showed a significant increase in all groups. The results of clinical assessment showed that a considerable reduction (50%) in the incidence of PEM, vitamin A deficiency symptoms,‘B’ complex deficiency, vitamin C deficiency symptoms and iron deficiency in experimental groups over the control groups. Statistical analysis showed that significant increase (P<0.01) was observed in weight of preschool children and lactating women after supplementation. Supplementation of ARMM’s helped to improve the nutritional status of the vulnerable groups of population in rural areas especially with regard to protein, energy, iron, and calcium and B-complex vitamins. Promotion of malt based small scale food industry not only provides opportunity for rural women to develop entrepreneurship and employment but also provides Food and Nutritional Security through income generation.

Paper 2: The Traditional and Medicinal Knowledge of the Nari Korva Tribe in Tamil Nadu

Bhanumathi Govindaswamy, Eflu Emmrc and Thangaiah Vijaya Pushpam, National Institute of Nutrition

The Narikuravas of Tamil Nadu, is spread all over the district of Tamil Nadu, some district such as Trichy, Pudukottai, Tanjure ,Thirunelveli, and Thiruvannamali . The NariKorva speak in Vagri, an Indo-Aryan language within the family and with others they speak in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati and Marathi . The traditional occupations were bird trapping, hunting of small animals and selling medicines. Apart from their traditional occupation, they have learnt the art of making models of the animals with the use of the skin of the hunted animals by filling with husk or dried grass. The NariKorvaare non-vegetarians. The trapping of birds and animals, with the techniques utilized by the NariKorva, does not involve hard work. It is taken as a hobby and outing with economic returns. In this context it may be clarified that they go for hunting for self-consumption of the flesh of the birds and animals apart from selling them. The animal products fetch them money. So, the entire economy revolves around hunting and bird trapping. So, one should not view it as their hobby.Women sell combs, needle, safety pins,medicine etc., They are expert in making the medicine out of animal and plants and treat for all kinds of illness. They are expert in treating in the people in different ways by using the traditional and medicinal knowledge. In this paper I am trying to highlight how this tribe is putting effort in treating the people in their traditional and medicinal knowledge. One medicine is used for multiple diseases.

Paper 3: HEALTH PROBLEMS AND HEALTH SEEKING BEHAVIOUR AMONG RURAL DALIT WOMEN OF PUDHUCHERRY UNION TERRITORY, INDIA

Pragati Velurr, Pudhucherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture & Shri Shivananda Swamiji

The celebration of the International Women’s year offered an occasion to undertake research on the social, educational, economic, cultural, political and legal status of women. There are only a few studies on general health problems of women and on reproductive health in particular from a social science perspective. Women’s health is probably one of the most inadequately researched areas in International and National public health. The health and education of the women are two important parameters for the millennium development in globalization. Therefore, steadily the concept of women’s health today is becoming a major concern among the developing countries because of high prevalence of infant, child , and maternal mortality and the deteriorating quality of life. Women experience malnutrition, anaemia, infectious diseases/illnesses are more than men and are less likely to receive timely medical treatment. Traditionally women in India have an inferior social status and this inferiority is reflected in their health status. Due to the tradition of male domination women have became dependent and conditioned to bear all sufferings silently. Women, especially poor women are often trapped in a cycle of ill health exacerbated by childbearing and hard physical labour. In India, most researches are conducted on women’s reproduction morbidity is based on hospital data and is statically oriented. There is a need to understand women’s perceptions regarding their health, disease and treatment seeking behaviour ethnographic perspective with empirical data. Keeping these objectives in mind the present paper explores the health problems and health seeking behaviour of rural dalit women of Pudhucherry.

SESSION 2

Paper 1: Study of Folk Medicine among the Scheduled Tribes of Uttarakhand Himalaya.

A.P. Singh, Lucknow University

Folk medicine can be studied in a primarily spoken, not written, tradition. What counts in such medicine is not the gains out of it but the place which this medicine occupies in a particular tradition/society/community. That is why the folk medicine differs from community to community. The present research paper analyses the folk medicine among the scheduled tribes of Uttarakhand state of India, namely, Jaunsari, Bhotia, Bhoksa, Tharu and Raji.The traditional systems of medicine,like spiritual,indigenous and herbal,have been examined as case studies among these tribes. The role of traditional healers/witch doctors, such as Bharra and Sayana, has been highlighted to diagnose and cure a disease. It is concluded in the paper that there is need of training these traditional healers/witch doctors not in magic and quackery alone, but in the scientific use of the indigenous pharmacopoeia."

Paper 2: To assess the nutritional status of the Kandha Group and to suggest an intervention strategy to overcome malnutrition

Kodali Vijayanthimala, Mahathma Ghandi Institute of Research and Social Action/ Center for Women studies

The present study is an attempt to studythe health status of the Kandha group by assessing their nutritional status. The tribe Kandha studied for the purpose hails from Gadaparai and Kandulagadda in ChintapalliMandal of Visakhapatnam District in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Sarayaput in Nandapur Block of Odessa. The population covered in the study is 445 (male 213 and female 232) spread over 110 households.Data were collected from each household with the help of a structured questionnaire, observation and interviews. The data pertain to i.socio-economic and demographic aspects ii.body measurements through anthropometry iii. Items and quantity of food taken and iv. Nutrition related clinical symptomsThe study concludes that men seem to be better nourished than women and children. Women are better than children.75 percent children are undernourished. Nearly 36 % of the sample developed clinical symptoms of one form or other related to protein, calorie, vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Nutritional intervention is suggested for consumption of 200gms or more of ragi along with rice, sriramachikudu, raw and ripe papaya, drumstick leaves and raw and ripe banana which are locally available and are regularly grown in courtyards, to enhance the nutritive value,( it is empirically established from our study) and to overcome from clinical symptoms.