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Atlas Central India | Jan Swasthya Sahyog 16 MB

This is the story of a 35 year old woman from the Agadhiya tribe who lives in a forest village of Madhya Pradesh. To reach the Jan Swasthya Sahyog health facility at Ganiyari, she had traveled almost 150 km, first by bus, then train and then auto. When this frail woman entered the OPD, the room filled with a foul odour and people started making faces […] This was not an anecdotal case. The JSS hospital gets an average of 20 old and newly diagnosed cervical cancer patients every month, with most of them at the late stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis. The questions remained: why were so many of these poor rural women getting cervical cancer? And why were there delays in diagnosis and treatment?”
Narrative of Bhaguri Bai, “Cervical Cancer” chapter of the Atlas of Rural Health

Jan Swasthya Sahyog (JSS), or the People’s Health Support Group, is a collection of health professionals and workers trained at leading medical institutions in the country of India that serves over 2,500 villages in north-western Chhattisgarh and south eastern Madhya Pradesh. Published by JSS in 2016, the Atlas of Rural Health chronicles patient narratives and reflections documenting disease patterns and distribution among the poor rural populace of JSS’ catchment area. Specifically, JSS felt the need to illustrate not just the biomedical causes, but also the social, economic and cultural roots of these diseases to highlight the role of structural violence on the political economy of the ailments of the rural and tribal poor in India.

Of the wide spectrum of human ailments, JSS started with a list of 50 illnesses that they commonly see in their hospital and health centers at Ganiyari, Shivtarai, Semariya and Bamhani in Chhattisgarh, India. Of these 50 illnesses followed, 27 patient narratives are presented, with 40 picture stories with short annotations, personalized commentaries and several disease maps showing the unequal distribution of diseases in the states of India.

The following NCDI patient narratives and picture stories were highlighted:

  • Snake Bites/rabies
  • Malnutrition and body mass index
  • Cancer, including cervical and oral
  • Diabetes
  • Mental Health and neurological conditions, including epilepsy, special needs, down syndrome, psychosis, alcohol addiction, suicide
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Silicosis/Fluorosis
  • Hyper/hypothyroidism
  • Gas gangrene
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Dactylitis
  • Marjolin’s ulcer
  • Necrotizing fasciitis
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Nerve abscess
  • Rickets
  • Alcoholic cardiomyopathy
  • Airborne contact dermatitis and chronic atopic dermatitis
  • Scabies
  • Post-burn contracture
  • Gingival hyperplasia
  • Bell’s palsy

The Atlas of Rural Health was primarily funded by the Tata Trust. Hard copies of the Atlas are available for purchase by contacting JSS directly, small donations are encouraged.