Population First has been organizing health camps in the villages regularly. The aim of the camps is not just to provide health services but to create an environment where the whole community gets sensitized about health issues. The camps typically include interesting fun activities for the youth and children on health issues, counseling for adolescents, screening facilities and entertainment programme with health messages. The well attended health camps organized in collaboration with the health institutions demonstrate to the service providers how health issues can be communicated to the community in an interesting and interactive fashion.
A one-day free Health Camp was organized at Junowni Village, Shahapur on May 5, 2012 in collaboration with the Government Health Department and with the support of various agencies; Americares India, HDFC, Empathy Foundation, St. George Dental College (Mumbai), Impact India Foundation, Mahindra Tractors, UNFPA and Wockhardt Foundation.
- More than 1400 people from surrounding villages attended the health camp. The team comprised 73 government and private doctors, medical officers, support staff, pharmacists, Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) and Multi-Purpose Workers (MPW).
- General physicians and specialist doctors such as ophthalmologists, dentists, pediatricians, gynecologists and ENT specialists provided free service.
- Americares and Impact India Foundation provided fully equipped vans for gynecological and eye examination. Thorough eye check-up was conducted by Empathy Foundation which also took the responsibility of providing spectacles for 64 people with poor eye sight.
- A stall was set up with the support of UNFPA and Health Department, exclusively for adolescent girls and boys to provide information on reproductive and sexual health. Sanitary pads were distributed to adolescent girls to encourage better hygiene practices during menstruation.
- Furthermore, as part of the campaign, Hemoglobin tests were conducted. The tests revealed that twenty four youths had a low Hb count. Iron and Folic Acid supplements were distributed to the malnourished.
Population First (PF) organized an 'Arogya Melava' (health fair) in Aghai Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Shahapur on March 8, 2009. The event was conceptualized such that it drew support from the health workers who owned the event and were involved actively at every stage of the project. The objective was to provide information on health in an interactive manner to as many people as possible and simultaneously conduct a free medical consultation camp.
The Aghai PHC staff, who are important stakeholders of the transformation process taking place in the villages, provided excellent support and inputs. A number of NGOs and health professionals were approached to be a part of the melava. The following organizations took part:
Participant / Organisation
Somaiya Action for HIV/AIDS Support (SAHAS),PSM Department, K J Somaiya Hospital, Medical College and Research Centre,DKT India, Rashmi Deolekar, Officer in-charge, OTRRDET Unit, Indian Cancer Society,Rural Project of Tata Institute of Social Sciences,ANMs/ Supervisors, Anganwadi workersTopic/ Issue
- Women's reproductive health, personal hygiene, HIV/AIDS, Contraception, Cancers affecting women,
- The melava also had a stall selling products (like detergent / phenyl / bathing soap etc.) prepared by women SHGs
- Educational CDs for women, children.
- Condom demonstration for youth
- Information on National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and family planning
- Nutritious, low-cost food items
Over 1000 people attended the Melava out of whom 618 people received free medical consultation. Women constituted approximately 60 percent of the visitors while children about 30 percent.
The melava was funded by Mahindra Tractors and some other individual contributors- Dr. Nandini Garg, Urmila Vaid Charity Trust and Mr. J.M.Mehta. Besides, support in kind was received from Innerwheel Club of Dombivali, whose volunteers also were present at the venue.
Folk artists were invited to communicate the health messages in an entertaining way. Lokshahir Shamrao Khadke & Party performed folk dances and music of Maharashtra like laavni, powada, gondhal while giving out messages on the importance of immunization, institutional birth, ANC/PNC care, role of ANM and ASHA etc.
Since many children accompanied the adults, provision for their entertainment was made wherein PF volunteers conducted games for children. Drawing sheets and colours were also provided to children who could express their creativity. Video CDs were played for women and children on health issues. A women’s Self-Help Group (SHG) was commissioned to prepare and serve food to all the attendees.
The melava has made the PHC staff realize that it is possible to give out important health information in a lively and interesting way. It provided PF a good interface with the health workers and people and will go a long way in establishing PF as a sincere and credible organization.
The cost of organizing one health melava with volunteer support from medical professionals and other NGOs working in the field of health is Rs 100,000 which includes only logistic support for the camp. To Donate Click here.