The MBSNS, along with the JJSS and CHARM (Centre for Health and Resource Management) is engaging with a community health programme. The JSS and Saathi groups have been terrific resource persons, here is an update on the most recent health workshop, organized at the MBSNS centre.
Third in the series of health workshops being organised in Araria, concluded on the 9th of August, it concluded on a very enthusiastic note wherein participants promised to return for the fourth workshop in December.
As usual, most of the participants arrived on the 6th evening. There were around 30 participants this time. From SATHI Pune, Shakuntala, Bhau and Nitin had come. Bhau couldn’t come for the last workshop and his energy and humour were missed.
Day 1 – 7th August, the session started around 9:30 AM. After a quick round of introduction and sharing of the themes that would be discussed in this workshop, a substantial amount of time was spent on revising and revisiting the topics discussed in the previous workshop. Most of the participants remembered what was discussed about Anemia in the last workshop. Following which, there was a sharing session wherein participants had to do a Panchayat wise presentation of the work that the health workers undertook in their respective Panchayats. Most participants had engaged in some health-related work or the other – from taking patients in their village to public health facility, to raising voice at the local anganwadi center for distribution of food items to pregnant and lactating women, and children. One of the primary focuses of the health programme has been to motivate people to access Government Health facilities. Some of the participants even raised the issue of functional subcenters in their area with the local health administration, with the support from local volunteers.
In this workshop, a concrete plan was drafted as to what all follow-ups and future action steps that needs to be undertaken – for example – collecting and documenting complaints regarding corruption in ambulance services or at the level of health facility, especially during delivery. To achieve this – making of a concrete plan – participants were divided into smaller groups in which they had to discuss what they could do at the Panchayat level to ensure that they have a functional sub center, free ambulance services, free deliveries at a public health facility, etc.
The day ended with the participants watching Pad Man – a mainstream Bollywood film, on one man’s quest to remove menstrual taboos.
Day 2 – 8th August, the session started at 9a.m. Smaller groups had to make presentations regarding future action plan in their Panchayats. This was followed with a larger discussion on strategies to strengthen public health system. Participants were highly motivated to ensure that public health system functions properly in their area. This time, as part of the Health Education component, focus was on women’s health – mainly white discharge, red discharge and uterus prolapse. Participants had a lot of questions and listened very keenly. These are very common issues that women in the villages suffer from. The day ended with participants being divided into 3 smaller groups wherein each group was asked to prepare a short presentation on each of three topics pertaining to women’s health that were discussed.
The day ended with participants watching Manjhi – another Bollywood film, true story of a man who looses his wife due to non-accessible health care and then devites many years of his life to building a road to make health care accessible for his village.
Day 3 – 9th August, the session started at 7:30 in the morning. The three smaller groups that were formed, did presentation on white discharge, red discharge and uterus prolapse – symptoms, causes, prevention etc. This was followed by a revision and repetition of the action plan that was made and what they are supposed to do once they return to the villages. Then the group officially bid farewell to SATHI folks with the hope that all of us will return to this place and meet each other after 3 months – having moved may be a step or two in the direction of claiming our health rights and strengthening the public health system. After a quick lunch, all the participants along with Shaku, Bhau and Nitin made a visit to Araria District Hospital – making themselves familiar with all the departments at the hospital and some of the facilities and schemes that are available at the DH. This was followed by a short meeting with the highest medical officer in the district – the Civil Surgeon. Both participants and the CS were glad that they meet each other. The group dispersed after this. Participants from Forbesganj and Narpatganj blocks, shopping with Shakuntala, Bhau and Nitin proceeded to Forbesganj Block Hospital – as part of the confidence building exercise for the health workers. Visiting the health facility with the health workers boosts their confidence. During the visit, some observations were made such as – IPD wards are not kept properly, patients are not given 3 meals in a day etc. These issues will be raised at the level of Block Hospital administration.
The next workshop will be conducted sometime in December and meanwhile participants are going to raise the issue of health rights in their areas and also disseminate information that was given to them regarding women’s health.