Updates From JJSS Health Workshop 21-22 December 2020
2020 has been a difficult year in many ways. But we at JJSS wanted to end it on an inspiring and constructive note. On 21 and 22nd December, a two-day health workshop was held at the centre of Mo. Budhia Shiksha Nirman Sangathan (MBSNS), Araria. Over 30 health activists, working in different geographical areas of the JJSS, came together for the first time since COVID-19 hit our lives. Braving extreme cold and COVID-19, the participants spent two days revisiting, sharing, and learning topics and techniques related to health work they have been engaged in.
The first half of the workshop was dedicated to reporting and sharing insights from health work on the ground. The participants then revisited some of the important topics they had learned in previous workshops, and added their insights from the ground on them.
As part of revisiting key health inequalities, a session on gender was conducted. The session focused on common gender differences in health outcomes, and the life-cycle approach that shows that gender inequality in each stage of life accumulates and produces long term health inequalities.
The next session was the highlight of the workshop, where techniques of managing fever at home were discussed and demonstrated. Participants were walked through the various reasons why fever may happen, and why not every type of fever requires hospitalization or an immediate visit to the doctor. Borrowing from booklets used for training ASHAs and other community health workers, participants were taught the correct techniques to use a thermometer, record temperature, and dos and don’ts of fever management.
Dr. Abhijit from SATHI, Pune, joined us online to guide us through the discussion. He took up our queries and introduced the idea that fever was not an illness but a symptom indicating an illness. He also emphasized that most fevers tend to pass off on their own in a few days and we should focus on fever management, not rushing to a doctor or self-prescribing injections and antibiotics from a local medical shop. Some audio visual materials were also used in this session that can be accessed here.
The last session of the day was about countering health-related superstitions and building a scientific outlook. This session involved understanding common health-related superstitions, debunking them with science and experience, and getting at the core of how superstitions are fed by fear, lack of information, inequality, lack of money, and privatization of health. The session then talked about the importance of building a scientific outlook and rational thinking towards social issues including health. Kanika, a long time friend of the JJSS, joined us online and helped facilitate the session.
Sessions on the next day involved revising and practicing ideas and techniques learned, as well as making and sharing plans for the health work in the New Year. Group work was also done on how to clean, read, and safely use a digital thermometer, and maintain a temperature chart.
Throughout the workshop, sessions involved a mix of audio-visual context, workbooks and charts, movies and documentaries, games, and most importantly, songs, dance, and slogans. It is with this energy that we end 2020 and gear up to work towards improving health and well-being in 2021!