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Nutrition Warriors | In Naxalite Land, A Doctor Couple's Crusade To Save Tribal Communities In Jharkhand, Odisha

Prasanta Tripathy and Nirmala Nair left global careers to settle in Chakradharpur. They set up Ekjut in 2002 to provide health and nutrition training on community participation

Nutrition Warriors | In Naxalite Land, A Doctor Couple's Crusade To Save Tribal Communities In Jharkhand, Odisha
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Nutrition Warriors | In Naxalite Land, A Doctor Couple's Crusade To Save Tribal Communities In Jharkhand, Odisha
outlookindia.com
2020-01-10T16:15:01+05:30

Ancient trees close in overhead on the long, undulating road from Khunti to Chakradharpur in Jharkhand, as the musty smell of red earth wafts up, waterfalls cascade down craggy rocks and forest-clad hills alternate with valleys in the distance. Yet, you are warned: it is part of the Naxalite ‘red corridor’.

There are many ways to understand danger here. One way is through the story of husband-and-wife doctor duo, Prasanta Tripathy and Nir­mala Nair, who left global careers to settle down here, jettisoning all fears and expectations, for an opportunity to solve a crucial problem and avoid a greater danger. “I am from Chakradharpur,” says Tripathy. “I grew up here. It was repaying my debt of gratitude to my birthplace.”

The greatest danger was the unrelenting grip of malnutrition on the area, spawning stunted and underweight children. Tripathy and Nair found very little data on the health status of isolated communities—Ho, Santhal, Oraon, Juang, Munda and Bhuyian—tribal communities, as well as soc­ially...

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