Dalit Women-s Health

Dalit women are also called the untouchable in Southeast Asia. These groups of people form the lowest cast in this part of the world, generally regarded as unsuitable for personal contact. Consequently they almost never can benefit from the new discoveries of science and civilization: nobody involves them in any advanced social activities, they cannot be touched, they are only regarded suitable for low, physical work and they don’t have the same healthcare system as everyone else. Even within the untouchable cast, women are discriminated. They are considered inferior to men and their survival rate is quite low, because saving their lives is not necessarily a priority.

Although Dalit culture is quite impressive and there are such things as Dalit literature and modern literature, discrimination still exists, especially in rural areas, where people are illiterate and very superstitious. Dalit women suffer more than Dalit men from this discrimination. Many of them are denied basic health care and assistance in critical moments of their lives such as delivery. Educating people around them and educating them will take a lot of time.

Attempting to interfere into someone’s culture, tradition and superstitions can be a delicate endeavor, but still, several programs have been started, some of which are concerned with training members of this very cast to provide health care. Since they don’t go to school and are mostly uneducated, it is hard to imagine that they can be trained to do sophisticated medical jobs or to provide advanced medical care. But they can do basic things which are just as necessary for survival. Dalit women benefit immensely from these programs because now they can be involved in such training and they get results too. The rate of death during childbirth is getting lower and women can learn about basic hygienic and medical principals and educate their children in the same spirit. Cholera cases, scabies and other diseases can now be kept under control, due to these programs. But considerable funds are still needed as well as volunteer trainers.