On 16th August the Department of Sociology, Cotton University in collaboration with Anamaya-tribal health collaborative organised a dialogue on Tribal Health and Culture Interlinkages.
The key speakers at the event were Dr. Forhad Akhtar Zaman, Additional Professor and Head, Department of Community & Family Medicine, AIIMS-Guwahati; Dr. Anil Kumar Boro, Head of Department, Department of Folklore Research, Gauhati University and Dr.Mitra Das, Deputy Director, Assam Institute of Research For Tribals And Scheduled Castes, Government of Assam.
The event ended with a moving mime performance on sustainable use of forests and conserving medicinal plants by artist Mina. Such interdisciplinary discussions are important because indigenous communities report disproportionately high levels of maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition, cardiovascular illnesses, and other infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.
The discussion highlighted that more sensitivity needs to be brought about while providing healthcare to indigenous populations. There is a need for behavioural change in communication through long-term interventions and improved tribal health literacy.
There is a need to acknowledge that there are many underlying factors that influence indigenous health seeking behaviour, more so in an increasingly globalised world, and one of the basic aspects that influence health seeking behaviour is the immediate environment and culture.