Our Rural Medical Services team recently spent a few days visiting the “Monkey tribe” or Birhor colony in Palkot.  These villagers are a nomadic people who catch monkeys for food and to sell.  This primitive tribe is dwindling in numbers due to low birth and high death rates. Originally hunters, the Birhors, (Bir=Mountain) live entirely on forest produce. They love to eat monkey meat and are extremely skilled in trapping any animal. Trapping rabbits, weaving ropes, selling a few baskets when they can, the Birhors seem to live in a different age. 


It is only recently that they have started rope-making as their main economic activity. Their total population in India is around 22,000.  In the state of Jharkhand there are 13,000. with about 550 in Palkot and Simdega. The Birhor literacy rate is very low and as a result, they fall an easy prey to those who exploit them. Every 4th person is illiterate. Our Rural Medical Services team and Community Health Leaders in training (CHLT) taught them using pictures and songs to help them understand disease prevention, nutrition, and sanitation practices.  In the picture to the right are 4 girls who have made it to a graduation level!  They are being recognized and celebrated as this is NOT common among children of this tribe as most do not finish past grade school, if they are even in school.  
During this visit of 12 families our trainees taught them about Cleanliness, Hand washing, Malaria, Diarrhea, Oral Hydration Solutions, and Tuberculosis. The team also collected samples of sputum for TB and found 1 affected with TB after testing at Shanti Bhavan Medical Center. Patients who tested positive for malaria were given treatments. About 90% of them were anemic. De-worming tablets were distributed among the villagers.  Malnutrition affected most of children and many of the adults as well.

Our RMS team decided to visit the Monkey tribe the first Tuesday of every month. Their target is to prevent TB, Malaria, Anemia and Diarrhea related deaths and to eradicate those diseases among them.

You can help colonies like the “Monkey tribe” live a better quality of life through programs like Rural Medical Services and the training of our Community Health Leaders.  Donate today to enable our teams to reach more, teach more, and share the love of Christ.