Document Type : Original Article



BACKGROUND: The tribals are considered as an underprivileged community who are dissociated
from the health‑care system. They are known to adhere to old, ancient methods of managing illness.
This study was undertaken to understand the issues and challenges in the tribal areas in seeking
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cross‑sectional study was conducted during the year 2017 in a
nongovernmental organization‑based health center located in a tribal area of rural Maharashtra,
India. A total of 383 participants were interviewed using a semi‑structured questionnaire about
the health‑seeking behavior and utilization of health services in the study center as well as nearby
government facilities. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the management of
diseases at the study center were also identified.
RESULTS: In the event of an acute illness, 40% preferred government hospital, 40% private, 16%
of study center, and 4% sought treatment from traditional healers. On comparison with nearby
government facilities, the study center was located far away, travel time and fare to reach was more
and was preferred by all over government facilities. The difference in user perspective about both
facilities was statistically significant (P < 0.00001). All of them trusted the staff and the services
provided at the study center completely. Around 97% thought the services were made according
to their convenience. About 59% spent on drugs and logistics after visiting the nearest government
facility, whereas only 10.8% admitted to having spent on drugs and logistics after visiting the study
CONCLUSIONS: Faith‑oriented health‑care seeking behavior seems to dominate the health scenario.
It is influenced by realistic factors such as accessibility, affordability, and acceptability.


1. Mavalankar D. Doctors for tribal areas: Issues and solutions.
Indian J Community Med 2016;41:172‑6.
2. Balgir RS. Tribal Health Problems, Disease Burden and
Ameliorative Challenges in Tribal Communities with Special
Emphasis on Tribes of Orissa. Proceeding of National Symposium
on Tribal Health. New Delhi; 2006.
3. Report of the High Level Committee on Socio‑Economic, Health
and Educational Status of Tribal Communities of India; 2014.
4. Das N, Kumar R. Role of Non‑Governmental Organizations in
Healthcare Sector of India. Public Health Foundation of India;
2016. doi:10.13140/rg.2.2.30420.19845. Available from: https://
[Last accessed on 2018 Oct 23].
5. District Level Household and Facility Survey‑3 Factsheets India
2007–08; 2008.
6. National Family Health Survey‑2 n.d. Available from: http://‑2.shtml. [Last accessed on
2018 Oct 24].
7. National Family Health Survey‑1 n.d. Available from: [Last accessed on
2018 Oct 23].
8. Mumbare SS, Rege R. Ante natal care services utilization, delivery
practices and factors affecting them in tribal area of North
Maharashtra. Indian J Community Med 2011;36:287‑90.
9. Jose JA, Sarkar S, Kumar SG, Kar SS. Utilization of maternal
health‑care services by tribal women in Kerala. J Nat Sci Biol Med
10. Maske AP, Sawant PA, Joseph S, Mahajan US, Kudale AM.
Socio‑cultural features and help‑seeking preferences for
leprosy and turbeculosis: A cultural epidemiological study
in a tribal district of Maharashtra, India. Infect Dis Poverty
11. Murthy KS, Chakravarthy BK, Kolli B. A comparative study on maternal care practices in tribal area and urban slums. J Evol Med
Dent Sci 2015;4:7477‑82.
12. Varma GR, Kusuma YS, Babu BV. Antenatal care service
utilization in tribal and rural areas in a South Indian district: An
evaluation through mixed methods approach. J Egypt Public
Health Assoc 2011;86:11‑5.
13. Singh A, Kumar A. Factors associated with seeking treatment
for postpartum morbidities in rural India. Epidemiol Health
14. Kumar A, Sharma S, Sharma CP, Meghwal SC. A study to
assess the level of living and awareness and practices regarding
MCH care in a remote tribal village of Udaipur district. Natl J
Community Med 2013;4:318‑20.
15. Dongre AR, Deshmukh PR, Garg BS. Childhood morbidity,
household practices and health care seeking for sick children in a
tribal district of Maharashtra, India. Indian J Med Sci 2010;64:7‑16.
16. Prasad S. Preference of hospital usage in India. Ann Trop Med
Public Health 2013;6:472.
17. Buor D. Analysing the primacy of distance in the utilization of
health services in the Ahafo‑ano South district, Ghana. Int J Health
Plann Manage 2003;18:293‑311.
18. Buor D. Determinants of utilisation of health services by women
in rural and urban areas in Ghana. Geo J 2004;61:89‑102.
19. Buor D. Distance as a predominant factor in the utilisation of
health services in the Kumasi metropolis, Ghana. GeoJournal
20. Abdullah Al‑Ghanim S. Factors influencing the utilisation of
public and private primary health care services in Riyadh city.
JKAU Econ Adm 2004;19:3‑27.
21. Prosser T. Utilization of Health and Medical Services: Factors
Influencing Health Care Seeking Behaviour and Unmet Health
Needs in Rural Areas of Kenya Recommended Citation. Edith
Cowan University; 2007.
22. Mahapatro M, Kalla AK. Health seeking behaviour in a tribal
setting. Health Popul Issues 2000;23:160‑9.
23. Ray SK, Basu SS, Basu AK. An assessment of rural health care
delivery system in some areas of West Bengal – An overview.
Indian J Public Health 2011;55:70‑80.