Putting Women First
Women and Health in a Rural Community
Trained in India and at Johns Hopkins University where she and her husband, Dr. Ajay Bang, learnt public health and research methodologies, the couple returned to India to set up a health clinic in Maharashtra’s neglected Gadchiroli district, about 170 km from Nagpur, where the Gonds are the dominant tribal group. As co-author Rupa Chinai points out, this settlement goes back to prehistory, ‘from here stretches eastwards the crescent of the tribal population, the indigenous peoples of India’. Rani Bang’s research found that 92 percent of women in this region had no access to treatment for gynaecological disorders in the absence of women doctors. Such neglect was exacerbated by ‘development’ since rural families were, and remain, unprepared for the rapid changes wrought in the spheres of education, information, material enhancement and changes in lifestyle, which impact on relationships and health.