Nutrition Awareness Camp for Tribal Populations

 

The Tribal Clinic set up by HERD Foundation at Pauni undertakes regular health awareness programmes as part of its mandated activities to create healthier communities settled here. We systematically take on health camps to popularize preventive measures by organizing health awareness programs on issues related to health and hygiene. While last fortnight we undertook educating about diarrhea, this fortnight focused on nutritional awareness. Our team has been working for past three years in the region and the surrounding villages are familiar with the scheduled programmes of which they are informed in advance.

It is largely women patients who get involved as they are well acquainted with the medical team and they become willing participants in these awareness programmes. Such events teach them to take better care of their children and families. The tribal women are appropriate messengers to carry back the lessons to implement them in their daily lives. It leads them to take informed care of children, aging parents, and community members. These health camps are organized at the Tribal Clinic and last week the nutrition awareness camp drew nearly 60 women to the event.

Information about events gets circulated well in advance and the nutritive recipe competition was publicized to bring in more participants to the health awareness camp. The camp was organized for the benefit of the community women to coincide with the medical team’s health examination scheduled visit to the Tribal Clinic. It is when the team goes out for providing medical assistance thrice a week to this location, that they also plan and conduct activities to ensure inclusive reach for need of health awareness programs for the benefit of the people living here.

On September 8, 2017 the camp was organized with the aim to improve the nutritional status of the populations and especially targeted the tribal families. The food-preparation based nutrition approach was undertaken to create nutrition awareness to enhance consumption of nutritionally rich fruits, vegetables and ingredients. The team members made a comprehensive presentation to promote and emphasize on the importance of dietary variety in order to improve the nutritional quality of their diet and to increase knowledge and education on food preparation.

The team successfully created an environment in which the women became engrossed in learning how to add sufficient variety in their eating habits through locally available, affordable fruits, vegetables and ingredients that would add to their nutritional intake. This kind of participatory nutrition education for the women actually helped in inspiring them to learn new ways for consumption of nutritionally rich food.

Knowledge about alternate food preparation was shared prolifically. The nutrition-rich food competition announced earlier had the women bring in dishes they had prepared. Prizes were given after tasting and judging of dishes. This was done to encourage them to prepare innovative nutritious food in their households that will increase consumption of new recipes. The tribal women felt benefitted in being imparted necessary knowledge and skills to prepare and consume nutrition rich foods that they would add to their diet.

It turned out to be a wonderful effort by the medical team to raise awareness as well as to promote strategies for achieving nutrition security and enhance diversified food habits among these tribal families. These communities after all suffer from micronutrient malnutrition and the team assisted in offering solutions to address the problems. It was a wonderful participatory gathering that taught them to understand the need to learn about importance of nutrition and know of recipes using seasonal vegetables, fruits and condiments.

HERD Foundation hopes the nutrition awareness programme at the community level will promote increased consumption of nutrient rich foods. The health camp attracted the rural poor and disadvantaged women living here. The activities and advice provided by the team were to improve their awareness and skills in cooking to benefit their healthy eating habits. We know the team will be successful in bridging this critical knowledge link to educate home makers – mostly women to take better care of themselves, their children and families.

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Dulara – Small is Beautiful

Kids Happily Holding Up Health Cards

Dulara ke Dulare

Nestling in the jungles of Pench forest is the small village of Dulara – almost a hamlet, of about 300 families, where the majority population comprises of the adivasis or tribals settled here since times immemorial. Still placidly content to carry on with their pastoral lifestyle with dhan cultivation as a priority in the face of scanty rains; the men folk are worried. So the vibrant lush forest holds no romanticism for them even as the verdant landscape, hued in all shades of green, leaves us completely awed.

What worries us actually is that there is no doctor in the village and the nearest PHC is about 5-6 kilometers at Deolapar – on foot!! So if you can’t make it to the main road from here you are stuck on your charpoy. What was heartening was the fact that a good enough Zilla Parishad school sits right at the entrance of the village. And this became the venue for the HERD Foundation free medical camp on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.

The quiet community was soon abuzz with activity as the bus with doctors, para-medics, nurses, social workers and attendants parked outside the school. One of the central rooms became the consulting room for the six doctors and an outside open area was taken up for the medicine dispensing spot. Registrations of patients were taken up methodically – 226 grown-ups and 40 children. Exactly 26 people were provided with referrals for further treatment in hospitals at Nagpur for their acute conditions like night blindness, surgery cases and more.

Aside from fever and body aches, other ailments included skin, eye, ears, lesions, joint aches, addictions and a few other serious conditions. All the kids lined up for the health camp were measured for height and weight and accorded the routine examinations. Health tonics and needed medicines were dispensed at the provisional counter. People kept coming quickly for the half day camp for which prior intimation had been given to them.

Dr Amol Deshmukh sees his vision – ‘Health for All’ succeed brilliantly through such medical camps even for remote villages like Dulara that are almost hidden inside the jungle – out of view. The success of his mission is evident that the team members conducted the entire proceedings in a very smooth and organized manner, in astoundingly muggy conditions dealing with the patients with care and compassion. The test of his leadership is apparent that everything happens precisely as it should, even if he is not there.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Life in Monsoon in Rural India – HERD of the Matter

Our rural areas are full of scenic lakes and hills that come alive especially in monsoons. One cannot but reflect on the misty, cloudy terrain that unfortunately affects the fate of rural people who must live through the messiness of the Great Indian Monsoons. Even as the farmers rely heavily for their crops and soil on monsoon’s benevolence, yet the cascading sheets of heavy downpours wreak havoc on ordinary mortals.

Nearly 70% of the annual precipitation comes down between June and September and while it bodes well for farmers for their harvest and monetary safety, yet an excessive amount brings out woeful suffering, disease and disaster. Just as the heat of the stifling summer ends with the first torrid showers, the earth gets ready for the rainy season that transforms the landscape in a riot of greens. But for the people living out there, there is nothing romantic about the monsoons.

Common sicknesses – cold, cough, flu and diarrhea become major causes for physical discomfort and majority of the rural people additionally suffer through neglect or non-availability of proper medical care. What is worse is that such conditions can be readily contained through efficacious healthcare delivery, at low-cost too. But the plight of rural citizenry continues to suffer every year from this annual seasonal change.

Rains become breeding grounds for diseases – Malaria, Dengue, Encephalitis, Chikungunya and more. Add to this the dilemmas of pot-holes, open-tanks, clogged drains, flooded roads/fields and stagnant water bodies. This is the mosquito season. Flooding and leakage of sewage/drains add to hazards like contamination of food causing Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A or even food poisoning during this season.

The season also sees people suffering from fatalities resulting from accidents and injuries while working in fields. Road accidents, electrocution due to water dripping or live electric wire contact, fall due to slipping, are all common occurrences.  Farmers just cannot afford to be sick during monsoon or else there will be no harvest. They actually work through sickness and pain all through the monsoons with no thought of health centers or hospitals.

HERD Foundation’s Monsoon Medical Camps are an attempt at providing relief and healthcare to the disadvantaged remote villagers living in the countryside, tilling the lands for us. We can all give a moment’s thought to their struggle for existence to live through it all. HERD Foundation continues diligently in offering healthcare services through its committed team of doctors, nurses, specialists, para-medics and interns to take care of the far-flung villagers carrying on valiantly in an intimidating season.