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30: Catalyzing Health Actions for Societal Empowerment

Catalyzing Health Actions for Societal Empowerment

The Situation

Rural India contains over 68% of India’s total population, and half of all residents of rural areas live below the poverty line. Infrastructure like hospitals, primary health care, roads, clean drinking water, electricity, and sanitation are lacking. Many in these villages suffer from untreated common ailments such as malaria, asthma, tuberculosis, digestive troubles, and gastric problems.  

Health centers are 10- 20 kilometers away, modes of transportation are limited, and clinics are often ill equipped to meet emergency situations. Doctors and nurses refuse to stay in such distant areas.  Community education regarding healthy diet, hygienic lifestyles, and illness prevention is unavailable, leaving this area highly epidemic-prone.  

More than two million children die every year from preventable infections. Reduced funding for immunization leaves only 43.5% of the young fully immunized.  Few women have access to skilled birth attendants and fewer still to quality emergency obstetric care. In addition, only 15% of mothers receive complete antenatal care and only 58% receive iron or folate tablets or syrup. Unhygienic delivery practices conducted by traditional “Dhais” or midwives (birth attendants) escalate the risk of neonatal mortality in the Tribal villages of North East India. Dhais are not aware of the concept of using sterile instruments. Some of their tools are injurious and lead to infections like tetanus and sepsis.  

The Sisters’ Response 

In 20 rural villages in the Barrack Valley Sisters offer awareness programs on different health issues. They provide preventive, curative medical care and holistic approach in healing ministry by introducing naturopathy and herbal medicines.  They reduce the occurrence of tuberculosis and promote safe motherhood through community awareness and actions and constant networking with Government Health care services. They provide one health worker for each village served to take care of the villagers’ health.  

Now they wish to spread these health services to 20 more villages. More than 2,000 families will be covered and pregnant women, mothers, infants, children and adolescent girls will be targeted for the interventions. Specific objectives of the project are given below:  

  • Institutional deliveries will be increased by 30%  
  • Fully immunized children up to 2 years old will increased by 30% in 20 villages in 2022.  
  • Pregnant women, adolescent girls, infants and children of 20 targeted villages access health care and are linked to Government health facilities  
  • Tuberculosis is reduced through community awareness, prevention, and curative measures 

The Project will adopt following strategies: 

  • Provide mass awareness programs on Safe Motherhood, breast feeding, awareness of tuberculosis, anemia and diabetes, etc.  
  • Provide nutrition to malnourished children and pregnant women 
  • Offer ambulance service, medical camps and mobile vaccination  
  • Provide sex education for adolescent girls  
  • Provide herbal medicine training  
  • Provide capacity building for Village Health Workers  
  • Work with rural religious and tribal leaders to engage with government health programs to ensure that villagers health needs are met at the standards promised by law 

Funds Needed

Funding is needed for 3 years to address immediate health needs and fully engage government services in these rural areas.  $27,027 is needed for each year or $81,081 for three years to operate in 20 rural villages. 

Systemic Goal

Government inability or failure to provide health care services to rural areas leads to a lack of awareness, lack of access, lack of certain facilities and resources and substandard public healthcare. 

One health worker in each village along with the efforts of the Sisters provide adequate health care education and access to services while more fully engaging government services. 

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30: Catalyzing Health Actions for Societal Empowerment
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