Home Institution

Tufts University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


The goal of this study is to understand the health-seeking behavior of Changpa nomads in the Changthang region of Ladakh, India including what health issues these communities face, what they do when they fall sick, any preventative health behavior they implement, as well as the health infrastructure available to them. Very little literature exists on the health seeking-behavior of people in South Asia in general, much less among nondominant lifestyles such as that of nomadic or semi-nomadic people. As such, this research hopes to move towards closing that knowledge gap by conducting and analyzing 26 in depth semi-structured interviews and participant observations regarding health issues and health behavior with people who live in semi-nomadic communities, staff at local sub centers and PHCs, government officials, and NGO workers in Leh. Main findings include a prevalence of “small diseases” such the common cold, likely caused by over-prescription of antibiotics, increasing recognition of cancer as a result of unhealthy diet, poor oral health due to water contamination, and the occurrence of excessive professional and self-referrals to Leh causing a patient overload at the District Hospital. Ultimately the research takes a community-based approach to understand health issues and identify the strengths and deficiencies of health care systems in the region to help stakeholders move towards implementing positive interventions that can help ensure a high quality of life among Changpa communities.


Asian Studies | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Family, Life Course, and Society | Family Medicine | Health Policy | Health Services Administration | International Public Health | Preventive Medicine | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Welfare


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