Tribal Healers & Telemedicine


“One of the most painful weaknesses of the health care system is its failure to provide care of equal quality to everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity, income, geographic location, or any other demographic detail.”*

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Jodhpur is probably the 1st AIIMS in the country, which has taken initiative to reach out to tribal of remote and inaccessible areas of district Sirohi and to start tele-consultation services at tribal-dominated Community Health Centre (CHC) at tehsil Abu Road, district Sirohi, Rajasthan (~250 KM from Jodhpur). The Institute, under Centre of Excellence (COE), AIIMS, Jodhpur (A Collaborating Centre for Indigenous health, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI) has started telemedicine services from CHC, Abu Road, district Sirohi, Rajasthan and have been successfully delivering telemedicine services to not only tribals of Abu Road, but also local residents reporting to CHC Abu Road. The patients at CHC Aburoad are getting tele-consultation in not only speciality departments (General Medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, Psychiatry & Dermatology, etc.) but also received tele-consultation from super-speciality departments (Cardiology, Nephrology, Neurology, Endocrinology, Urology etc.). The patients consulted through telemedicine mode are giving very satisfying feedback for the services provided. Tele-consultation is provided free of cost. The consultants at AIIMS Jodhpur try to advise the medicines and diagnostic tests available at CHC, Abu Road. This is however done in somewhat informal ways utilizing freely available Google meet the application. Although it is free the proper data capturing of patient’s record, online consultation, and prescription cannot be issued, and safety of data also cannot be ensured. The Institute is planning to introduce the Tribal Sirohi module on its HIS (Hospital Information System), AIIMS Jodhpur portal, to have dedicated module on HIS portal for capturing of tribal patient’s data of district Sirohi, prescription writing, online consultation without an appointment, etc. The telemedicine services provided are innovatively designed to maximize the outcome. In this hybrid model of telemedicine, the Institute did not fix the days for a particular department rather than everyday consultants are looped in as per the need of patients reporting at CHC Abu Road. This saves time for consultants who otherwise wait for patients in a given timeframe slot. This greater flexibility allows for more consultation with less wastage of the consultant’s time."

  • About the organization
  • About the Project
  • Progress of Project
  • Photo
About the organization

AIIMS Jodhpur is one of the SIX NEW AIIMS established by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY) with the aim of correcting regional imbalances in quality tertiary level healthcare in the country and attaining self sufficiency in graduate and postgraduate medical education. PMSSY planned to set up 6 new AIIMS like institutions in under served areas of the country.

These institutions are being established by an Act of Parliament on the lines of the original All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi which imparts both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in all its branches and related fields, along with nursing and paramedical training to bring together in one place educational facilities of the highest order for the training of personnel in all branches of health care activity.

Progress of Project


This report is based on work done under “Centre of Excellence” AIIMS Jodhpur from 2nd June to 15th November 2020. The project started on ground from 15th June 2020 and till date, team COE, AIIMS Jodhpur managed to meet more than 513 tribal/traditional healers (commonly called as bhopa in the state of Rajasthan) across 153 villages in three blocks (TSP Zones) of district Sirohi, uncovering their traditional medicinal knowledge for scientific documentation and analysis for its scientific application and also recorded tribal healer’s knowledge attitude and practices for corona virus disease (COVID-19).

Team COE is involved in conducting various survey among tribal population and collecting their demographic and socioeconomic data to record, analyse, understand and make future road map for taking this work to other seven tribal districts of the state of Rajasthan. Under this project, till date survey of 989 tribal people has been done. Apart, team COE also spread awareness about COVID-19 on multiple occasion. Team COE also spread awareness among tribal girls and women about importance of menstrual hygiene and reproductive health and conducting pre and post-test among them. Till date 4 activity has been successfully conducted and under this we have covered more than 400 beneficiaries and distributing more than 1000 cotton mask (two mask for each one, so that they can reuse easily and maintaining personal hygiene) and 250 sanitary pads and 500 soaps among beneficiary.

In district Sirohi there is 5 blocks and total number of villages is 507, in which 3 blocks is dominated by tribal population and in these blocks number of villages are 301, till date we have covered 153 villages among TSP zone.

Research Activities (Publication):

Manuscript in progress:

1. Exploring the Knowledge Attitude & Practices of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic among Tribal/Traditional Healers of district Sirohi – A cross-sectional questionnaire based study.

2. Navigating the Potential of Indigenous Healing practices - A Scoping Review.

Manuscript (planned):

1. A critique of healing practices of tribal/traditional healers for common ailments of tribal communities of district Sirohi, Rajasthan.

2. A report on health situations of tribal communities of district Sirohi, Rajasthan - Challenges & Opportunities.

3. Assessment of telemedicine needs in the tribal population of district Sirohi, Rajasthan.

4. Effect of structured training on knowledge, attitude and practice of menstrual hygiene in adolescent school girls of district Sirohi, Rajasthan.

5. Tertiary Care Centre experience of a hybrid telemedicine model in the tribal area (Aburoad tehsil) of district Sirohi, Rajasthan.

Recent News/Updates:

The team COE, AIIMS Jodhpur is proactively working on setting up a functional, sustainable, telemedicine centre solely dedicated to health needs of the tribal in district Sirohi. We have taken approval of the Director, AIIMS Jodhpur to initiate such activity utilizing Hospital Information System (HIS) for patient data recording, prescription writing and cloud storage for data safety & retrieval.

Outcome of Project:

Although it would be premature to comment on the outcome of the project as the project is halfway, certain important activities done so far worth mentioning here.

1. AIIMS Jodhpur is the first AIIMS which has reached out to tribal areas to approach, adapt, appreciate and address the health problems of the tribals of district Sirohi.

2. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic is the dreaded reality of recent times, regular Awareness activity of COVID-19 was conducted at monthly outreach activities at various villages of district Sirohi.

3. In this troublesome time, Awareness about the Menstrual Hygiene and Reproductive Health among adolescent girls & women of various villages of district Sirohi was done.

4. Barring few, there was an excitement among tribal/traditional healers about interaction with the staff of COE, AIIMS Jodhpur. Healers also were very cooperative and consented to attend any training provided by AIIMS Jodhpur.

5. The field activities done by faculty and field staff of AIIMS Jodhpur, is well received by all the level of healthcare providers.

6. The Healthcare staff at CHC Sirohi facilitated for Telemedicine activities at the centre and is backed by District Collector, Sirohi.

7. The activities done by AIIMS Jodhpur is being facilitated by Commissioner (Tribal Area Development) & District Collector, which in turn reflects the faith and satisfaction of work done by AIIMS Jodhpur.


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