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Putting Women First: Women and Health in a Rural Community

Price : $40.00
ISBN # : 9788185604961
Author : Rani Bang with Sunanda Khogade and Rupa Chinai
pages: 300
Edition : Hardcover
Volumes : 1
Publisher : Stree-Samya Publications
Published : 2010

Trained in India and at Johns Hopkins University where she an her husband, Dr. Ajay Bang, learnt public health and research methodologies, the couple returned to India to set up a health clinic in Maharashtra s neglected Gadchiroli district, about 170 km from Nagpur, where the Gonds are the dominant tribal group. As co-author Rupa Chinai points out, this settlement goes back to prehistory, from here stretches eastwards the crescent of the tribal population, the indigenous peoples of India, that arcs across Central India and encompasses the ancient Dandakaranya forest mentioned in the epics and ancient texts of Hindusim. Rani Bang s research found that 92 percent of women in this region had no access to treatment for gynaecological disorders in the absence of women doctors. Such neglect was exacerbated by development since rural families were, and remain, unprepared for the rapid changes wrought in the spheres of education, information, material enhancement and changes in lifestyle, which impact on relationships and health. Based on her experiences and meticulous case studies, gynaecologist Dr Rani Bang s book, Putting Women First - Women and Health in a Rural Community - written along with social worker Sunanda Khorgade, and journalist Rupa Chinai, tells us all that is wrong with our public health policy and why it is so difficult for us to reach MDG 5, namely attaining full reproductive and maternal health coverage for our women. Although her findings relate to rural Gadchiroli, they could apply anywhere. The attitude of the bureaucracy, the corruption, and the manner in which projects are imposed top down, are a universal phenomenon all over the country. In its haste to achieve targets, the government has ended up with a public health plan that fails to focus on the people who need to be benefited. Detailed and well-etched out, the book is reflective of the Gandhian in Dr Rani Bang and her husband, Dr Abhay Bang, who opted to work in backward Gadchiroli after having trained in Nagpur and Johns Hopkins University in the US. Her intolerance of alcohol and tobacco, and insistence on clamping prohibition may strike many as awkward. But her views are founded on what she has seen them cause in the way of social and gynaecological problems among the poor she has worked with after setting up her NGO, the Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) at Shodhgram. Her eye for detail and humane approach is at once evident in the manner she begs for a sympathetic understanding of adultery, extra-marital relationships and the sexual mores of physically disabled women. Even so, she has not remained content in pinpointing the myopic inadequacies in the public health system, but has listed out solutions rooted in her medical experience. The solutions are especially weighty, given the fact that SEARCH has successfully brought down the infant mortality rate in the 60 villages it works in from 120 to 30 per 1,000. In fact, it is pertinent that the Bangs approach is now under implementation through the National Rural Health Mission all across the country. Focussing on the tribal district of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra, bordering Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, (and is part of the central Indian tribal crescent), the book also makes us realize why tribals in Gadchiroli and elsewhere in India are falling prey to the Maoist/Naxal ideology in increasing numbers. Author Bio: Rani Bang is a co-founder of the Society for Education Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH) that pioneers new models in Indian health care; Rupa Chinai has specialized on developmental journalism with a focus on health; Sunanda Khorgade works with the women s health programme at SEARCH and trains traditional birth attendants; Rahul Goswami is a policy analyst and writer, based in Goa and Delhi.

This book was added to South Asia bookstore on Monday 18 April, 2011.

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