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Understanding the dais' role in neonatal and maternal welfare in the rural context requires an interdisciplinary approach to help explore the interface between knowledge domains, both modern and traditional, that mold the working of health care providers in these systems.


The poor and the marginalised, whose physical, social and economic access to modern services is severely limited, continue to depend upon the traditional dai. Her work is woven into the social fabric of the villages where, among the poorest sections with monthly per capita expenditure of Rs.340 or less, homebirths are still as high as 61.0 percent. Hence to appreciate her contribution we need to understand her location within the village social structure and dynamics, her skills, knowledge and their cultural rootedness, and the inherent potentials in her relationships with other providers.


These linkages can be strengthened to make her work complimentary and bring her closer to the health service system for promoting neonatal and maternal survival and wellbeing.

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   Himachal Pradesh

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