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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing
2033.0: Sunday, November 04, 2007 - Board 6

Abstract #163341

Is the “good” self-reported health of Paniya tribes (Wayanad, Kerala, India) misleading?

Renée Larocque, PhD1, Katherine Mohindra, PhD1, Marta Feletto, PhD2, Delampady Narayana, PhD3, and Slim Haddad, MD, PhD4. (1) Unité de santé internationale, Université de Montréal, Edifice St-Urbain, 3875 rue St-Urbain, 5ieme etage, Montréal, QC H3W 1V1, Canada, 514-890-8000x 15929, renee.larocque@elf.mcgill.ca, (2) Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Edifice St-urbain, 3875 rue St-Urbain, 5ieme etage, Montréal, QC H3W 1V1, Canada, (3) Centre for Development Studies, Prasanth Nagar, Ulloor, Thiruvananthapuram, 695011, India, (4) Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, 3875 Saint-Urbain, 5th floor, Montréal, QC H3W1V1, Canada

Background: It is known that the most deprived groups have the poorest health. However, in India, the Paniya tribes, known as the lowest social groups, report a better health.

Objective: To assess if the “good” self-reported health of the Paniyas is misleading.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey (N=3352 households) was conducted in Kottathara Panchayat (Kerala, India) during April-June 2003. Basic health (self-reported) and socio-economic information was collected. A panel survey (N= 543 households) was also conducted from October 2003-September 2004 in order to measure episodes of illness over time through a health diary. Additionally, a small Participatory Poverty Assessment was done in a Paniya community.

Results: A significantly lower proportion of Paniyas reported a poor perceived health compared to the other social groups (19% vs 24%, OR=1.3; 95%CI:1.2, 1.5). Similarly, Paniyas also report less episodes of illness during a year than others (6.6 ±5.6 vs 8.5±6.7). However, more households of Paniyas are classified as Below Poverty Level (83.7% vs 38%), have no toilet facilities (52.2% vs 6.0%), are not electrified (73% vs 40%), etc. In addition, during the Participatory Poverty Assessment, members of the Paniya community rated that most (90.6%) households wellbeing was miserable.

Conclusions: Evidence demonstrate that most determinants of health of the Paniyas are poor and that the good self-reported health is misleading and probably biased by the perception that they have of their own health. Care should be taken by researchers and decision-makers in using such measures to assess the health status of extremely deprived communities.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Assessment, Indigenous Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Social Epidemiology Poster Session

The 135th APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 3-7, 2007) of APHA