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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 100

Faith or Rationality – what dominates the health scenario? – Reflections from a non-governmental organization based health center in a tribal area of rural Maharashtra

Department of Community Medicine, Seth G S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anuradha Mohapatra
Department of Community Medicine, Seth G S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_368_18

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BACKGROUND: The tribals are considered as an underprivileged community who are dissociated from the health-care system. They are known to adhere to old, ancient methods of managing illness. This study was undertaken to understand the issues and challenges in the tribal areas in seeking healthcare. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cross-sectional study was conducted during the year 2017 in a nongovernmental organization-based health center located in a tribal area of rural Maharashtra, India. A total of 383 participants were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire about the health-seeking behavior and utilization of health services in the study center as well as nearby government facilities. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the management of diseases at the study center were also identified. RESULTS: In the event of an acute illness, 40% preferred government hospital, 40% private, 16% of study center, and 4% sought treatment from traditional healers. On comparison with nearby government facilities, the study center was located far away, travel time and fare to reach was more and was preferred by all over government facilities. The difference in user perspective about both facilities was statistically significant (P < 0.00001). All of them trusted the staff and the services provided at the study center completely. Around 97% thought the services were made according to their convenience. About 59% spent on drugs and logistics after visiting the nearest government facility, whereas only 10.8% admitted to having spent on drugs and logistics after visiting the study center. CONCLUSIONS: Faith-oriented health-care seeking behavior seems to dominate the health scenario. It is influenced by realistic factors such as accessibility, affordability, and acceptability.

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