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Social identity and perceptions about health care service provisioning by and for the Dalits in India

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The present study aims to explore perceptions of the women health care providers (Auxiliary Nurse Midwives and Accredited Social Health Activist) and seekers on the basis of their social identity. The health interaction of Dalit health care providers with non-Dalit care seekers and vice versa is studied. Furthermore, this paper discussed the ways by which social identity of the care providers and the care seekers affects rendering and utilisation of health services at grassroots in rural India. A qualitative study design was employed to allow in-depth interviews with the 120 respondents. A thematic analytical framework approach was used to analyse the data. Discrimination in health care access on the basis of social identity was evident. The social identity-based perception which leads to prioritisation and discrimination was visible from both sides – providers as well as seekers. The social identity of the care providers plays an important role in shaping perception of the care seekers about the intent and ability to seek care from them. It has direct implications on health seeking behaviour of the people as it encourages discrimination and widens gap between Dalit and non-Dalit health care providers and seekers both.
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Keywords: ANM; ASHA; Dalits; caste; discrimination; social identity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences (SSS) II, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India

Publication date: May 4, 2018

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