Health: Cognition and threshold among the Oraon tea garden labourers of Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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There is scarcity of health information in many subpopulations in India, which needs to be explored for formulating effective public health policy. Studies on the tea garden population revealed that poor socioeconomic conditions, ignorance due to illiteracy, culture and food habit, overcrowding, and unhygienic living conditions make the population vulnerable to various communicable and noncommunicable diseases and malnutrition. Data were collected from the labourers of Birpara and Dalgaon tea gardens of Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal. The objective was to identify the primary health care available vis-à-vis the health problems. The results were based on mortality data, subjective well-being, frequency of ailment symptoms, perceived health status, and selected health practices as well as some observations, which indicate their cognition and threshold regarding health problems, presented as case studies. Mortality rates were high in the population; comparative mortality data shows no considerable change in mortality rate over time and space. A very high frequency of anaemia was prevalent among females along with sore throat and abdominal pain. Perceived health status of most of the people was good, although that was not always true, because the perception of the people often depends on their threshold and cognition about health and disease.