Degradation in Health Status of Tribal Women in Kerala with Reference to Attappady Tribal Block

Haseena V.A


The awareness of health and health related behaviour among the tribal people are associated with their traditional beliefs, practices, nature of interactions with the physical environment and changing social, cultural and economic sphere. The health scenario of the tribals is functional more than clinical. It is a part of the cultural background which is continuously changing and adapting itself to changes in the wider society. According to the 2011 Census, the total tribal population of Kerala was 426,204. This constitutes only 12.7% of the total population of the state. The tribal population is comprised of 39 different communities. Among these, the most marginalized and economically and socially backward is the Paniya community. The population of the Paniya community is 92,787 (21.77% of the total tribal population) and the number of Paniya families, 21,604 (20.01%).The major problems being faced by the tribal population are land alienation, displacement from traditional avenues of employment malnutrition, ill health, erosion of traditional knowledge and culture, dwindling bio-diversity, denial of or restricted access to common property resources (CPRs), lack of educational opportunities gender inequity, sexual exploitation of and violence against women, alcoholism, and vulnerability due to socio-economic and political powerlessness.Wayanad District stands first with 35.94 per cent of the Scheduled Tribe population of the State, followed by Idukki (12.42%), Kasaragod (11.21%) and Palakkad (11.01%) Districts. As usual, Alappuzha stands as the lowest district of Scheduled Tribe population with a representation of only 0.71 per cent of the population. The tribals are degraded in every spheres of their life due to many reasons. The basic foundations of their life are deeply rooted in the forest. With the complete deforestation, tribes are alienated not only in their life but also from their culture.

Keywords: tribes, marginalization, malnutrition, depletion of Health

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