Public Health

Our interest in the issues of Public Health grew in late 1970s with the realization that both the infrastructure and the quality of service at Primary Health Centre at the Block level was deteriorating rapidly. This phenomenion caught our attention when reports piled up in 1978 that the patients in the National TB Education Programme were not receiving regular medication, thereby severely suffering and even dying. We responded to this crisis by organizing a youth awareness camp where scientific aspects of TB and its medication were shared and the related socio-economic and political issues were raised. This led to social action in several villages of Bankhedi Block in both persuading the TB patients to seek regular medical support and building public pressure on the Primary Health Centre to respond appropriately. Later, in early 1980s, the lady doctor in the KB Group organized zaroori dawai suvidha engaging village women and men as barefoot paramedics to attend to the common ailments in the villages. Among other measures, it included an active home-based oral rehydration programme to provide relief in cases of dysentery. This led to a training programme with the village dais (village-level traditional mid-wives) and long-term involvement with them to make them more effective in providing medical support to pregnant women. In the process, the dias shared their invaluable traditional knowledge with us.