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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 164-172

An observational study to assess the demographic status and health-seeking behavior of SC women and children in Bhubaneswar Block of Odisha

1 National Ayurveda Research Institute for Panchakarm, Cheruthuruthy, Kerala, India
2 Central Ayurveda Research Institute for Hepatobiliary Disorders, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
3 Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, New Delhi, India
4 Regional Ayurveda Research Institute for Endocrine Disorders, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Kshirod K Ratha
Central Ayurveda Research Institute for Hepatobiliary Disorders, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
P Binitha
National Ayurveda Research Institute for Panchakarma, Cheruthuruthy, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jras.jras_19_21

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BACKGROUND: The Scheduled Castes (SC) population of Odisha constitutes 17.3% of the total population of the state and is one of the most vulnerable groups with regard to health care due to the non-availability of affordable and quality health services. Reproductive health literacy is relatively poorer in adolescents and women, which impacts their reproductive health. OBJECTIVE: The core objectives of the study were to determine the socioeconomic status, living conditions, educational status, dietetic habits, lifestyles, and healthcare-seeking behavior of SC women and children, promote awareness regarding lifestyle and health, and also provide healthcare services at their doorsteps. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was conducted from January to December 2019 in the SC population-dominated areas of the Khurdha district of Odisha. The requisite information was documented by door-to-door visits from respondents who provided their consent for participation in the study, through a structured format. Awareness was created to the respondents through distribution of Information, Education, and Communication materials and public lectures. Ayurveda healthcare services were provided as per the initial screening, presence of risk factors, and presenting complaints, if any. The data gathered were analyzed through descriptive statistical assessment, i.e., measures of frequency and position of the data. RESULTS: A total of 5041 people were surveyed, including females and children only. Among these, 2758 were women of reproductive age and 2283 were children. Of the 2283 children, 1186 were male and 1097 were female. The causes of gynecological diseases in SC women are poor living conditions, environmental factors, poor hygiene, improper care during menstrual cycles, a faulty lifestyle, and a low socioeconomic status. The health indices were found to have improved due to the implementation of various women-centric welfare schemes by the government and institutional delivery. CONCLUSION: The Reproductive and Child Health program is pivotal for improving the health outcomes of the deprived and unreached segment of the SC women’s population. Supplementation of comprehensive and holistic health care through Ayurveda advocacy is sustainable and can improve health outcomes and reduce mortality and morbidity.

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