Dr. Thomas Colletti
The caste system in South Asia is a graded hierarchical system that is more than 3000 years old. This system ranks members of society into sociopolitical categories based on their perceived spiritual origins and is pivotal in determining the trajectory of an individual’s life. Being lower caste, specifically an Untouchable or a Tribal, is a major determinant of longevity. In this paper, we evaluate the effect of caste on mortality following adverse health events, the underlying causes of increased mortality, and suggest policy changes to help increase lifespan. Previous literature has established that caste-based disparities result in worsened morbidity and mortality for these groups. Additionally, current literature shows that where they can and do access healthcare, such patients were denied access to care, less frequently assessed by a medical provider, more likely to experience discrimination, and paid higher healthcare costs. In South Asia, the social and religious differences in mortality by caste are modest and should be investigated further. This will help in providing the evidence required to formulate policies that account for casteism and ensure access to equitable healthcare for all people of South Asia.
Arjun D. Impact of Caste Apartheid on Mortality. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2023; 5(1).
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