Trained in India and at Johns Hopkins University where she and her husband, Dr Ajay Bang, learnt public health and research methodologies, the couple returned to India to set up a health clinic in Maharashtras neglected Gadchiroli district, about 170 km from Nagpur, where the Gonds are the dominant tribal group. As co-author Rupa Chinai points out, this is a very old centre of settlement of about 3000 years, from here stretches eastwards the tribal crescent that arcs across Central India and encompasses the ancient Dandakaranya forest. Dr Rani Bangs research found that 92 percent of women in this region had no access to treatment for gynaecological disorders in the absence of women doctors. Such neglect is accompanied by globalisation and liberalisation which adds further stresses: rural families are unprepared for the rapid changes wrought in the spheres of education, information, material enhancement and changes in lifestyle. All of this has an impact on human relationships and health. In his foreword, Rahul Goswami points out that the book plays many roles.
It is a commentary on the chronic myopia of a planning process that refuses to see millions of Indians and the ways in which their lives can be bettered. It reveals the way tribal society is being buffeted by the modern and whose traditional kinship and ecological systems are being sorely stressed. It is also a logbook of case medicine. Quite different from the revolutionary activity of the Far Left, the Bangs have set in motion a type of revolution that equips women and men, communities and administrators with the tools to build an indigenous expression of development, one in which the fundamentals of healthcare, interdependence and sustainable economics are paramount.
Dr Rani Bang was trained in India and at Johns Hopkins University where she and her husband learnt public health and research methodologies. In 1986 they set up the Society for Education Action and Research in Community Health (Search), pioneering new models in India health care that have won national (Jamnalal Bajaj Award) and internationall recognition (MacArthur Foundation, 2006; listed by Time in 18 Global Health Heroes' , 2005).