Perspectives and practices of tribal traditional healers on health and health systems across different states of India: Mixed method study

This cross-sectional, mixed methods study is expected to reveal insights into the attitude and knowledge of tribal healers towards the health system and other systems of medicine. Patterns in the diagnostic and curative practices of healers are also expected to be revealed. The study would collect quantitative data using a knowledge attitude survey of traditional tribal healers and an observation based checklist related to healer practices. Qualitative data would be collected using in-depth interviews with tribal healers and ethnographic observations of a small number of healers in different states. Community FGDs are also proposed, to understand community attitudes toward healers.


Project Snapshot:

Project Name Perspectives and practices of tribal traditional healers on health and health systems across different states of India: Mixed method study
Project Sanction Date 15 Dec 2022
Project Period Dec 2022 to Dec 2023
Project Location Tribal districts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra
Project Supported By
Project Team

Project objectives:

 a)      Identify different types of traditional healers present in the study states

b)     To identify the range of diseases diagnosed, managed, treated, and referred to health facilities by the traditional healers of the selected states

c)      To describe the ritualistic and non-ritualistic healing practices of traditional healers of selected states in the management and treatment of diseases (voluntarily shared by healers)

d)     To determine the knowledge and attitude of traditional healers on other systems of medicine

Project Result / Accomplishments:

We are pleased to provide an update on the progress of Piramal Swasthya's Traditional Healer Project, aimed at empowering traditional tribal healers in underserved regions. As of now, the project has achieved several key milestones:

1. Traditional Healer Line listing:  Our team has successfully collected information about 7,437 traditional tribal healers across 7 states and 30 districts. This extensive database forms the foundation of our efforts to support and collaborate with these healers.


2. Pilot Studies: We have completed pilot studies in four states, namely Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh. These studies have provided valuable insights into the practices and challenges faced by traditional healers, helping us tailor our interventions effectively.


3. Local Partner Training: One of the project's critical components is the involvement of local partners. We are pleased to report that we have successfully completed the training of local partners in all seven states. This training equips them with the knowledge and tools necessary to facilitate data collection, establish connections with traditional healers, and contribute to the project's success.


Ongoing Activities:


Quantitative and Qualitative Data Collection: Data collection efforts are ongoing in all seven states. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection processes are in progress, ensuring that we capture a comprehensive understanding of traditional healing practices and the needs of healers in these regions.


As we move forward, our focus remains on improving the well-being of traditional tribal healers and the communities they serve. We are committed to addressing their healthcare challenges, preserving their valuable traditional knowledge, and promoting holistic and sustainable healthcare practices.

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