Health & Education

Health camp in Prathipadu village

Even after decades of freedom, India is struggling to provide basic health services to its people. According to government sources, 45 children die every hour in India due to respiratory infections. One child dies every 2 minutes due to diarrhoea. And annually, about 2 million children under 5 years of age die due to preventable diseases. India is one of the 4 countries worldwide where polio has not as yet been successfully eradicated, and one third of the world’s tuberculosis cases are in India. Three out of 4 children who died from measles in 2008 were in India. Basic health care is still inaccessible for women and children in rural India. The situation calls for timely diagnosis and care, which can reduce morbidity and mortality rates, especially among children and women.

It is health that is wealth and not pieces of gold and silver
– M.K. Gandhi

Most of the villages we work in lack basic health institutions such as small clinics. Providing medical health camps can go a long way toward improving the long-term health and resilience of village residents. Our short-duration health camps focus on preventive medicine, with the aim of promoting health-seeking behavior in the long term. Unlike general curative health camps, our primary focus is on prevention; providing vaccinations to children, health checkups to women of child-bearing age, and nutritional advice to pregnant women. The camps provide health services free of charge and address location-specific health needs. General physicians at the camps address health problems specific to the location and can refer patients suffering from chronic ailments to specialists.

Health and Education Often Go Hand In Hand

Lack of awareness is a major barrier to achieving public health improvements in poor rural villages, and exacerbates the impact of many diseases when they strike. Health education and counseling addresses maintaining and promoting good health as well as preventing illness and disease. Through awareness campaigns we aim to raise awareness of the health benefits of good nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, safe drinking water, family planning and birth spacing, pre- and post-natal care, and immunization. These activities equip individuals to make good decisions that influence their own health and the health of their families. The campaigns also play an important role in conveying knowledge regarding the avoidance of communicable diseases and treatment of common ailments such as diarrhoea. We use a variety of tools to engage the community on these issues, including participatory community counseling activities, writing competitions for school children, and distributing cloth bags imprinted with positive health messages and tips.