Evidence Building on Maternal Health in Tribal Community of Odisha
CHSJ, in collaboration with NAMHHR and with field support from PRADAN, undertook a study in Rayagada district of Odisha to understand the maternal health practices of tribal women who deliver in the home. In contrast to the rest of Odisha, in Rayagada, 38% of deliveries still take place in the home. Through in-depth interviews with recently delivered and pregnant women from the Kondh tribe, the study explored the maternal health practices of women who deliver in the home, the meanings attached to them, and the range of traditional health providers that they consult. The study also explored women’s experiences with the formal health system, the barriers of distance, language and customs, the alienating environment in the hospital, large out of pocket expenses and women’s anxieties related to the same. The study emphasizes the need for trust-building measures between the community and health system, efforts to cater to the specific cultural needs of tribal women (birthing position, diet, birth companion), efforts to preserve parts of traditional practices especially nutrition and so on.