Accepted Paper:

Public policy on health insights and intervention from anthropology  


Gautam Kshatriya

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the status of public health policy in India and the challenges posed by different health indicators. It also examines intervention strategies from anthropology for delivering effective and sustainable health care.

Paper long abstract:

The declaration of Alma Ata, 1978, brought in a revolutionary approach to health care. Following this, the Government of India evolved a National Health Policy in 1983 which aimed to achieve 'Health for All' by 2000 AD. Although significant progress has been made regarding key health indicators since Independence, there is wide variation in accomplishing the goals of critical demographic indicators in different States. There are also multiple reasons for differentials in health status in Indian populations. Confronting the tough challenges posed by the prevalence of various kinds of diseases and infrastructure, the Government of India is seriously engaged in evolving comprehensive health system through various policy programs.

Ironically, the lack of involvement of anthropologists in developing suitable health care strategies for varied cultural groups of India is far from satisfactory. In fact, they assume vital role in public health domains. They provide insights in to the health problems from the point of view of the community in which these problems arise. Thus, understanding cultural perception regarding health problems is of utmost important for any intervention programs for improving the acceptability in resolving health issues. It is therefore, imperative that anthropological approach can make critical differences in the intervention strategies for health care delivery system in any society. Keeping this in view, an attempt has been made to discuss various such situations where the recommendations of anthropologists have gone long way in acceptance of health services.

Panel P131
Fifty years of anthropological associations: reflections on anthropologies and nations (IAA/JASCA joint panel)