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BRIEF RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 113-115

Linking lifestyle of marginalized Gujjar population in Himachal Pradesh with plague outbreaks: A qualitative enquiry


1 Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, Department of Community Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India
2 Research Associate, School of Public Health, Department of Community Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India
3 Junior Research Fellow, School of Public Health, Department of Community Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India
4 Professor, School of Public Health, Department of Community Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sonu Goel
Assistant Professor of Health Management, Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Sector 12, Chandigarh - 160 012
India
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Source of Support: The project was financially supported under Adhoc Research Grant from Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.132287

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It was a qualitative enquiry conducted amongst Gujjar population of Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh (HP). The study was carried out to link various lifestyle factors of the Gujjar population with the 2002 outbreak of plague in HP. Focus Group discussions guide was prepared beforehand which had information about education, livelihood, dietary pattern, relationships, personal hygiene and habits and health care utilization. It was emerged out of the study that the population has poor literacy levels, poor personal hygiene, overcrowding in hutments, closely-knit social structure, lack of awareness about common diseases, and frequent visits to forests and living in caves during their visits. Further, government health care facilities are not routinely utilized by the Gujjar community. These factors might lead to increased proximity and exposure to wild rats among Gujjar population, thus increasing their susceptibility to plague. They are, therefore a potential link between any source of infection in forests and in native population of HP and other states. The government agencies should take various measures to increase health care access of such vulnerable population through outreach health care programs.


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