Unheard Voices of Maternal Mothers in Tribal and Muslim Communities

In the vast and diverse landscape of India, the maternal health of women in tribal and Muslim communities is a critical yet often ignored issue. These women face high rates of maternal deaths and illnesses, made worse by poor socio-economic conditions, cultural barriers, and limited access to healthcare services. Despite being important parts of India’s population, their unique challenges are frequently overlooked in health discussions, leading to poor health outcomes and ongoing cycles of poverty and illness. This article explores the unheard voices of mothers in these communities, shedding light on the systemic inequalities and cultural factors that affect their health.


India experiences high rates of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, with tribal communities disproportionately affected. Tribal populations frequently live in unfavorable socio-economic conditions and deficient social health indicators, culminating in adverse health consequences. As a result, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are common, leading to poor health outcomes for both mothers and their children.

Unheard Voices of Maternal Mothers in Tribal community.
Unheard Voices of Maternal Mothers in Tribal community.

Poverty among tribal communities leads to inadequate nutrition for women during the prenatal and postpartum periods, often resulting in anemia, a condition affecting 65% of tribal women (The Expert Committee on Tribal Health). This nutritional deficiency is compounded by the need for tribal women to work to support their households. The combination of anemia and strenuous labor places additional stress on both the expectant mother and the developing fetus . Moreover, maternal malnutrition significantly affects the health of newborns, particularly those with low birth weight. Ideally, breastfeeding mothers should eat frequently and consume larger portions to meet the energy demands of breastfeeding Healthy nutrition for a healthy child: A review on infant feeding in India. However, these women often follow traditional dietary rules and restrictions passed down through generations. A study in North India found that the maternal mortality rate in tribal regions was primarily due to anemia, exacerbated by unhygienic labor practices and incorrect advice from traditional healers Maternal mortility among tribal womens {chattisgrah, bastar}. These traditional healing methods increase the risk of post-delivery infections for both mothers and newborns. Newborns, especially those who are weak and premature, are highly susceptible to infections like pneumonia, diarrhea, and sepsis.



India's Disadvantaged Lack Nutrition
India’s Disadvantaged Lack Nutrition   




India has a multitude of tribes, each with diverse backgrounds in terms of ethnicity, race, and religion. However, there are disparities in various aspects like health, education, employment, and empowerment among these tribes, largely influenced by socio-economic factors. Gender inequality is particularly noticeable, with religion and race also contributing to social exclusion. Many tribal communities inhabit remote forest areas, facing worse health and nutrition conditions. It’s crucial to consider how these social factors interact to create and sustain inequality when developing policies for tribal health improvement. Education plays a pivotal role in the socio-economic advancement of any community or social group, closely linked with women’s empowerment. Education is seen as the primary means to bring about positive changes in the socio-economic and political status of tribal populations.

Inequities in maternal child health, education, and empowerment among tribal population in India 



Unheard Voices of Maternal Mothers in Muslim Communities.
Unheard Voices of Maternal Mothers in Muslim Communities.

Maternal health among Muslim women in India faces significant challenges. Despite being the second largest religious community in the country, Muslims often lag behind in human development indicators and frequently live on the margins of socio-economic and political life. This marginalization, coupled with a high fertility rate, creates substantial barriers to accessing maternal healthcare services. Radiational practices and societal exclusion further hinder Muslim women’s participation in mainstream health services, exacerbating their vulnerability. Consequently, Muslim women experience poorer maternal health outcomes, highlighting the need for targeted interventions that address these socio-economic and cultural barriers. Evidence shows that Muslims in India use maternal and child health (MCH) services less frequently than other religious communities. This community tends to be more traditional and frequently faces exclusion from maternal care services . Muslim women often deal with stigma-related issues and generally do not engage fully in mainstream society, leading to lower participation in health services . Studies indicate that education levels are low among Muslim women, who also have limited exposure to mass media concerning childbirth and contraceptive use.

Additionally, the fertility rate among Muslims in India is high, and many live in low socio-economic conditions. These factors, combined with low education and living standards, often prevent Muslim women from accessing and using maternal healthcare services. Several studies in India have examined the socio-economic determinants of maternal healthcare use among Muslim women   . They also highlight the inequalities in the use of various maternal health services due to the uneven distribution of wealth. However, there is a lack of research specifically focusing on socio-economic inequality in the utilization of maternal services among Muslims.

Utilization of Maternal and Child Health Care Services among Muslims
in India



Islamophobia in maternity care: ‘I wasn’t listened to and my baby died’



Muslim Women Even Face Discrimination During Labour And Pregnancy
Muslim Women Even Face Discrimination During Labour And Pregnancy

The variations in the utilization of maternal healthcare services between the poor and non-poor are most pronounced among educated individuals, urban residents, and those belonging to other backward castes. Interestingly, while there has been an increase in the utilization of maternal healthcare services among poor Muslim mothers, a significant gap between the poor and non-poor persists within the Muslim community over the past decade. This majority of disparities in maternal care utilization are predominantly concentrated among wealthier Muslims. Among the various factors influencing these inequalities, education and exposure to mass media emerge as the most significant contributors, particularly within the Muslim population in India.


· Mobile health technology to improve maternal health awareness in tribal populations: mobile for mothers

· Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA)

· Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY)

·  Many more


In conclusion, both tribal and Muslim communities in India face significant challenges regarding maternal health, stemming from a combination of socio-economic factors, cultural barriers, and limited access to healthcare services. The disparity in maternal healthcare utilization persists among educated individuals, urban residents, and other backward castes, with wealthier Muslims experiencing more significant gaps in accessing maternal care. These inequalities underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions addressing socio-economic and cultural barriers to improve maternal health outcomes in these communities. Education emerges as a crucial factor in bridging these gaps, highlighting the importance of empowering women with knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about their health. Efforts to address these issues must be holistic, taking into account the intersectionality of factors contributing to maternal health disparities and ensuring that policies and programs are inclusive and culturally sensitive. Ultimately, achieving equitable maternal healthcare access and outcomes for tribal and Muslim communities requires a concerted effort from government, healthcare providers, community leaders, and civil society organizations.

“Every woman deserves access to quality maternal healthcare, regardless of her race, religion, or socioeconomic status.” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


One Reply to “Unheard Voices of Maternal Mothers in Tribal and Muslim Communities”

  1. The article is full of informative content which is helpful to aware the society and improvement of welfare. Good luck for better reach!

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