September 25, 2019

Odisha’s tribal women discard tradition to space out childbirths

Odisha’s tribal women, suffering the adverse health effects of childbirths in quick succession combined with strenuous agricultural and household work, are breaking community norms to use contraceptives

© Basudev Mahapatra
Rita Mandal (34) of Bali Sahi, a hamlet under Dhepaguda panchayat of Gajapati district inhabited by Saora tribes, gave birth to five children, of which three died. Though a series of pregnancies without interval led to ill health, she felt helpless because women of her community had no choice regarding pregnancy

Similar were the cases of Sumitra, Sebati, Sugami and most other women between 30 and 40 years of age. Pregnancies without space led to ill health of most of these women. “Due to physical weakness, it was painful for me to go to the forest to collect firewood and other forest produce or work in my family farm,” said Arati Raita (32), mother of three children.