Impact of Traditional Cultural Values on Acceptance of Health Care Systems among the Santhals of Orissa

Purujit Praharaj, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

Acceptance of the 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 of and reaction to 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 the modern health care system mainly stands as a barrier to its acceptance among the tribal people. In such an environment, the traditional health care system continues to dominate; the traditional healer, who is 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 Session 136: Indigenous Peoples: Asia