Constructing Databases on Tribal Health focusing on Communicable Diseases

Principle investigator(s):Sheela Rangan, Abhay Kudale, John Porter, Karina Kielmann
Collaborator(s):LEPRA Society, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Started:March 2007
Duration:36 months
Summary:The tribal population in India constitutes 8.2% of the country’s population (Census, 2001) and is considered as socio-economically backward and disadvantaged. Tribal poverty has come into sharp focus since their food sources from the forest have started dwindling. In addition to widespread poverty, illiteracy, under nutrition, absence of safe drinking water and sanitary living conditions, poor maternal and child health services and ineffective coverage of national health and developmental services have been identified by several studies, as possible contributing factors to the dismal health conditions prevailing among the tribal population in India.

In view of this national health programme authorities have prioritized the tribal health agenda and in order to address distinct problems of this population, specific tribal action plans have been proposed. Three national health programmes so far - Reproductive and Child Health Programme (Phase-II), Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (Phase-II) and National AIDS Control Programme (Phase-III) have prepared special tribal action plans to address health needs of tribal people. A tribal action plan for Vector-borne Diseases is also in the pipe-line. However due to their disease-specific vision and restricted scope, these tribal action plans have been unable to take into account the problem of tribal health in its entirety. This resulted into ad-hoc planning and measures which have limited viability and poor performance yield. Availability of regularly updated and comprehensive databases on tribal health is likely that could provide leads for more evidence based programme planning and action measures for improving tribal health scenario.

It is against this background that we propose to develop a comprehensive database on tribal health focussing on communicable diseases.

Location: - Tribal dominant and inaccessible areas in Adilabad District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Demand for research:Programme Managers and Policy advisors at National, State and District levels and the implementing NGO (LEPRA Society)
Target audience:Programme Managers and Policy Advisory Bodies of various communicable diseases in India
Possible influence on policy & practice:Databases developed through the project have a direct bearing on improving the implementation of the newly proposed tribal action plans for Communicable diseases (TB, HIV, RCH) by National Health Programmes