The Karnataka State Tribal Research
Institute (KSTRI) has conducted research for first of its kind on the status of health of tribals belonging to Jenu Kuruba community (Honey Collectors), of which startling facts have been revealed.
The findings have revealed that most of the pregnant women are suffering from malnutrition. Majority of the Jenu Kurubas residing at Hunsur and HD Kote taluks, in particular were found to have been afflicted with Tuberculosis, while several of them had already died.
Lack of timely medical care, and not taking modern medicine is cited as the main reason for the increase in TB and death. The factors responsible for their low health and increase in mortality has also been highlighted in the findings.
It has been also found that members belonging to this particular tribe are more vulnerable to skin disease, diarrhea, Monkey disease, asthma and sickle cell anemia. Both men and women indulge in regular alcoholic consumption. There dwelling places are extremely unhygienic. In all, the community is considered to be most vulnerable in matters related to health amongst all other tribal groups.
Jenukurubas reside only in three districts, namely Mysore, Chamarajanagar and Kodagu. Their total population is considered to be around 8,000. The random sample survey was conducted at Gundlupt, Hunsur, HD Kote, Somwarpt and Virajpet for about one-and-half years.
KSTRI Director Dr TT Basavanagouda said that the main reason for the rampant disease among the tribals is lack of awareness on health issues and unhygienic.
“Declining population is a major criteria to assist Jeenu Kuruba, a particularly vulnerable tribal groups in Karnataka. They are very poor compare to other tribalcommunity. They wont give much importance for health. They are illiterates and most backward in socio-economic-health. Their population is fast declining. Majority of the community members practice cultivation or work as farm labourers. Their average lifespan is around 65 to 70 years.”
Collecting the random samples, further studies will be done with clinical assistance to know the reason for malnutrition among tribal pregnant women, he added.
Basavangounda said that they will be shortly submitting the report to the Social Welfare Department giving suggestions for health and family welfare to take precautionary measures to improve their health and living conditions, thereby reduce contracting diseases. Arrangements have been made to conduct de-addiction camps and health awareness programmes on hygiene for all tribals across the State, he added.