To support women through maternal health care during pregnancy and neonatal care in the far-flung areas of the Visakhapatnam Agency, ‘Asara’, a tribal health programme, has been taken up by Piramal Swasthya, a health care initiative of Piramal Foundation.
The project, initially started in Araku Valley to cover 181 habitations with 45,000 people, has increased to 1,179 habitations over a period of eight years in six mandals to cover two lakh population. The expansion covered Paderu, Dumbriguda, Pedabayalu, G. Madugula and Chintapalli mandals. Each centre has ANMs, general nurses and a medical officer.
Explaining the working of the centre, Project Manager Swarnalatha noted the pilots and ANMs go to tribal habitations and create awareness programmes involving villages heads, ‘Sadhikara mitras’ and village organisation assistants (VOA). The ANMs, taken from the local community, know the terrain, speak the local language so that they get the acceptance of the community, she explains. Having seen the problems that their own mothers and relatives, friends had gone through, they are able to relate and communicate with the women. They are given 15 to 25 days training before being taken as workers.
Since 2011, more than 50,000 women have been served and no maternal deaths were reported during the last one and a half years and the institutional delivery percentage was improved from 18 % to 72 %. “Piramala Swasthy staff work in close coordination with the government staff as the ultimate aim is to facilitate as many institutional deliveries as possible,” explained Ms. Swarnalatha.
No maternal deaths were reported during the last one and a half years, Since 2011, more than 50,000 women have been served, and the institutional delivery percentage was improved from 18 % to 72 %. “Piramala Swasthy staff work in close coordination with the government staff as the ultimate aim is to facilitate as many institutional deliveries as possible,” explained Ms. Swarnalatha.
At the time of the early stages of the work, it took time to get acceptance from the community and talk to health workers. “But the biggest change is how we see them walking into our telemedicine centres,” she says.
After screening at the telemedicine centre, they are referred to the primary health centre or community health centre and sent there with an ANM. Thereafter, the ANMs visit them every month and if there is any risk parameter referral is made to the concerned level of medical care.
60% of Piramal Swasthya employees are women, working for local women with the support of ‘mahila sadhikars’ and VOAs to bring about change and build a healthy community, Ms. Swarnaltha points out.
During the first visit to the six telemedicine centres, each woman is put through video conferencing to the specialist gynaecologists in Hyderabad. Subsequently, clear-cut referral criteria are followed.
“Besides the women are suggested on taking up nutritional food and told about it by showing demonstrative nutrition at all 6 centres. Nutrition is very important for women because of multiple pregnancies and anaemia,” says Ms. Swarnanlatha. Around 2000 women were trained in nutrition support.
Source: The Hindu