In March 2013 a group of dedicated voluntary workers joined hands with an intense desire to work for overall development of the community. The first step was to create a suitable platform for this. After much brain storming an NGO called ‘Niramay Bahu – uddeshiya Seva Sanstha’ was born in Nagpur.
Further, as per the theme of our team i.e. – ‘Bas Ek Kadam Aur’ i.e. ‘Just One Step More’ – so with great efforts the ‘Niramay Bahu – Uddeshiya Seva Sanstha’ was registered on a memorable date i.e. on 11/12/13 under societies registration act 1860.
Working for the community health began 15 years ago, by Dr. Ravindra, Dr. Urmila Kshirsagar and few others, then through Swami Vivekanand Medical Mission, Nagpur , and now since last 1 and 1/2 years through ‘Niramay Bahu-uddeshiya Sewa Sanstha, Nagpur, both being voluntary organizations dedicated to ‘Nagpur Rural’.
Initially a detailed survey was conducted in the villages to study the community health needs.
The community had inadequate primary health care facilities. The public transport was poor. Due to illiteracy, misconceptions, taboos, unawareness etc. problem of malnutrition, poor hygiene, and unsafe motherhood were on high mark.
Communicable diseases, nutritional anaemia and other types of malnutrition were the major health problems.
To start with a weekly mobile clinic was initiated, followed by various health awareness programs. The novelty of these programs like Baby Shower Function for Safe Motherhood, Lamp Lighting Function for Environmental Hygiene etc. attracted the general population. Gradually, the most sought after, community participation for the overall arrangement of the programs also started.
But this too was inadequate as the degree of problems was beyond our control. Then we focused on development of local health leadership. We selected a married lady with basic education for regular training. The selection was done by community participation. Emphasis was given on the voluntary nature of the work with full dedication and no expectation of remuneration.
We conducted a residential training of 6 days followed by one day non residential training for 6 months for every batch of the voluntary health workers. The topics covered were nutrition, hygiene, reproductive and child health, treatment of minor ailments and first aid.
After the successful completion of the training we handed over the first aid box to each worker. It contained the medicines for the treatment of minor ailments and nutritional anaemia, dressing material and the material for first aid.
The voluntary health workers were like boon to the needy community as they served them 24 x 7 and in all the seasons. The patients with no relief or the high risk patients were referred to our mobile clinic or to the higher centres as per the need.
Then we taught these workers the technique of home visits and health education. The topics were need based.
We also organized various need based health education programs with the active participation of these voluntary health workers and the community.
Nutritional anaemia was a challenge to us. It had varied causes and majority was of social origin. The treatment required was for a long period like 3 months. The patient was mostly of child bearing age and had to work to earn her and her family’s bread and butter. Thus she was unavailable mostly during daytime in her house. Then we tried a new way which was attractive and suitable to her. We arranged for their Health check up and Haemoglobin estimation during their free time. Then we handed over the necessary medicines and nutritional supplementation to our voluntary health workers. They distributed them to the needy women in the night time which was suitable to them.
This activity turned out beneficial in many other ways also. It helped in group building, team work, made them aware about their physical, mental and social health also. They learnt new prayers, bhajans which helped them to forget their worries for at least sometime. After three months we again checked their haemoglobin and found it to be raised significantly. We also arranged various health education programs and competitions with their active participation. Gradually there was a remarkable change in their behaviour, attitude and practice. They started taking care of their health, learnt healthy lifestyle. We concentrated on nutrition, hygiene and safe motherhood.
Then we also concentrated on the little kids. They were underweight, anaemic and with poor personal hygiene.
To change this scenario we conducted program similar to that for women. But we also educated the family members especially mothers about healthy child rearing practices.
To improve the environmental hygiene was really a challenge to us. Open defecation was very common. But our sincere and motivated workers took real efforts and gradually got the results. Construction of toilets was possible due to financial assistance from Gram panchayat and various organizations.
School children’s problem was overlooked by their parents due to their own reasons. But our health workers looked after them as if they are the village mothers. They treated their minor problems, referred and motivated the parents for further treatment in case of major disease. They also taught them the healthy life style in a friendly way by using songs, stories, role plays etc.
We taught various life skills to the teenagers so as to face the problems of life. We also gave them knowledge about the physical and mental changes in this period.
The elderly people were benefited the most as they were the most neglected people by the community. But our health workers and the mobile team took care of their many health problems with empathy.
Thus we served the community from womb to tomb at the affordable cost and with community participation.
But gradually new health problems started troubling the community. Due to the selling of lands a huge amount of money poured in and gradually changed the rural culture of contentment. The materialistic attitude frustrated them and it disturbed their mental, social and spiritual health.
Thus now we are working in this community in a more holistic way. We have registered a new organization for the same. The name of the organization is Niramay Bahu uddeshiya Seva Sanstha.
Goal : – To improve the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of the community.
Vision : – To develop the community with a holistic approach and community participation.
Mission : – To work in the field of 4 ‘S’ i.e
1) Swasthya (Health),
2) Shiksha (Education) ,
3) Swawalamban (Livelihood), and
4) Sanskar (Moral education).
In our villages the communicable diseases are under control. But there is increase in psychosomatic disorders. The problems due to alcohol and tobacco products’ addiction are increasing day by day. It is leading to poverty, unhealthy family atmosphere, family violence, malnutrition, increasing accidents etc.
Thus we will be focusing on the mental, social and spiritual health of the community. But we will continue to provide primary health care at the doorstep through our mobile clinic and first aid provided by our trained voluntary worker.
Our activities related to physical and mental health-
Primary health care at the doorstep and mobile clinic
School health check up
Personal hygiene education and nutrition education
Anemia control program
Mental health survey and mental health awareness
De addiction program
But for better results we will also concentrate on the other needs of the community. It will help to improve their health in a holistic way.
We have started various trainings for their livelihood for example, tailoring, beauty parlor, repairing of mobiles, repairing of electrical appliances, training for kitchen garden and agriculture etc.
For healthy new generation we have started activities related to education and moral education. The various activities are as follows-
Prayers, yogasanas and pranayama, trainings for personality development, sports education, environmental awareness, up gradation of school activities.
For all these new activities also our trained village health workers are the main pillars. They are working voluntarily and are eager to develop their community in a holistic way. The villagers have accepted the new organization as their own and are participating with more enthusiasm.
Thus there is a total change in the attitude, behavior and practices in the community. But still a long way to go. But we are sure that we will definitely reach the goal of improving the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of the community.