This week saw the publication of a new paper co-written by BU staff in the Sociological Bulletin. This is the first paper comparing Indian and Nepali Maoist rebels providing health services and health promotion to the communities under their influence. It presents the key provisions either made by rebel health workers themselves or by putting political pressure on government health workers to deliver better services in the areas controlled by rebels. Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen’s co-authors are based in India and Nepal. Prof. Gaurang R. Sahay is based at the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India, whilst Bhimsen Devkota is Professor in Health Education, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
This sociological paper is based on a mixed-method approach comprising 15 interviews and a questionnaire survey with 197 Nepalese Maoist health workers and a secondary analysis of policy documents and other published materials on the Maoist health services of India. The paper suggests that rebel health services in India and Nepal followed a fairly similar approach to what and how they offered health care services to local populations. Maoists becoming a government party changed the political landscape for the rebel health workers in Nepal. However, not incorporating the Maoist rebel health workers into the government health system was a missed opportunity. There are lessons that India and Nepal can learn from each other. Should the Maoist rebels and the Government of India come to an agreement, potential for rebel health workers to be integrated in the official health care system should at least be considered.
The paper benefitted from an earlier review through eBU: Online Journal. The feedback from the eBU: Online Journal’s reviewers helped shape and polish the paper before submission to the Sociological Bulletin.
Edwin van Teijlingen
- Sahay, G., Devkota, B., van Teijlingen, E.R. (2016) Rebel Health Services in South Asia: Comparing Maoist-led Conflicts in India & Nepal, Sociological Bulletin 65(1):19-39.