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Genetic Disease Burden, Nutrition and Determinants of Tribal Health Care in Chhattisgarh State of Central-East India: A Status Paper

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Author(s): Balgir RS

Journal: Online Journal of Health & Allied Sciences
ISSN 0972-5997

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Tribal health | Genetic disease burden | Nutrition | Communicable disease | Non-communicable disease | Biomedical anthropology | Chhattisgarh

ABSTRACT
Tribal health is an important aspect of development and progress of the people. This study pertaining to genetic disease burden, nutritional status and biomedical anthropological assessment with particular reference to determinants of tribal health care has been carried out among the four tribes, namely, Bhatra, Gond, Kondh and Paraja of Orissa residing adjacent to the bordering districts of Chhattisgarh The population genetic structure of a tribe is the outcome of socio-cultural practices, bio-psychological behavior, genetic constitution, and eco-environmental conditions. Tribal communities in India, in general and of Chhattisgarh state in particular, are highly vulnerable to various genetic diseases, nutritional deficiencies and unrealistic practices and lack of access to basic health facilities. A total of 815 blood samples comprising of 166 Bhatra, 219 Gond, 254 Kondh and 176 Paraja tribes were collected randomly under aseptic conditions. The frequency of sickle cell hemoglobinopathy (3.2-22.5%), β-thalassemia trait (0.5-8.5%), and G6PD enzyme deficiency (6-16%) is very high among the tribes of Chhattisgarh. However, the prevalence of Rhesus negative blood group is very low (0-0.6%). The frequency of hereditary hemolytic anemia is also high among the tribals of Chhattisgarh. Both communicable and non-communicable diseases harbor the tribal population. The nutritional deficiencies are rampant. Tribal people are engrossed with superstitions and have faith in traditional healers who practice magico-religious rites along with indigenous herbal treatment for the common ailments. Traditional folk medicine and health culture play a significant role in shaping tribal life. These health practices differ from one tribe to another. Unless locality specific, tribe specific and need-based health care system is evolved which should be appropriate, acceptable, accessible, and affordable, the true goal of health for all cannot be achieved in India.

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