Arpana’s Health Outreach Programs
Since 1981, Arpana has been instrumental in creating awareness about mother and child health and providing related health care services in rural areas. A cadre of village level health workers, trained at Arpana, in turn train members of women’s self help groups (SHGs) to take up health responsibilities in their neighbourhoods. Patients are referred either to nearby government health facilities or to Arpana Hospital, a 144 bedded base referral facility with modern diagnostic equipment and a team of excellent doctors.
Arpana’s target area is mainly comprised of a disadvantaged rural population and the health of low-income families is frequently compromised by difficulty in accessing a balanced diet as well as clean water for drinking and personal hygiene. In addition, without easy access to affordable medical services, curable diseases continue untreated for prolonged periods. In such situations, Arpana provides hope to disadvantaged communities by organizing medical and surgical camps and by providing free/ subsidized treatment to the poor.
Mother & Child Health Care :- Mother and child care has been an important focus from the beginning of Arpana’s rural work, which has also helped foster a positive environment for family planning counseling. With the survival of children being ensured, parents are able to consider options for planned families. In collaboration with Government health services, the program ensures:
- Intensive antenatal care
- Timely identification and referral of high risk cases to the Hospital by midwives/ health workers
- Safe delivery by trained midwives
- Postnatal care and Family Planning advice
- Immunisation and growth monitoring for infants
- Intensive and timely counselling in all matters relating to maternal and child health, nutrition, contraception etc.
- Prevention, proper home management and timely referral of seasonal diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea
Training SHG Members for Sustainable Village Health Care
Arpana has facilitated 800 women's SHGs amongst the most disadvantaged communities in 104 Haryana villages. Along with savings and micro-credit activities, the members receive monthly training sessions in health topics by Arpana development workers. They are motivated to:
- Share their health knowledge with the women in their neighbourhoods.
- Visit every pregnant woman, seeing that she has 3 antenatal checkups, immunizations and necessary supplements as well as to persuade her to have an institutional delivery.
- See that all children under 5 years old are properly nourished.
- See that all children get their full immunisations.
Arpana holds screening camps at 2 nodal centers regularly on scheduled dates, enabling the establishment of close rapport with sponsors and the community. Prior publicity is carried out through health workers, print media, banners and public announcement system. Patients needing surgery are brought to the Hospital in our vehicle, and taken back after surgery free of cost.
Arpana Outreach Services, Himachal Pradesh
The people of remote villages in Himachal scrabble for existence through subsistence farming and occasional work given by the government on the roads. Facilities are few and far between and health care is often neglected through ignorance, poverty and inaccessibility. There are many patients who have borne extreme pain over a period of not just months, but over many years due to curable diseases or operable conditions.
Training Health Resource Persons
Over 50 midwives, who act as informed health resource persons for their hamlets, have quarterly training sessions on pneumonia, TB, diarrhoea, antenatal care, well baby care, family planning, immunization, HIV/AIDS and safe delivery. Midwives are paid small incentives for their activities.
School Health Programme
The 7 local community workers have a good rapport with the schoolteachers in their areas. Their contribution towards health education is welcomed by the children and teachers, as the lessons combine simple lectures with games, flash cards and a quiz.
Topics include environmental sanitation, prevention and management of water born diseases (diarrhoea), personal hygiene and immunization of children below 1 year. Over 1,200 students participate in Arpana’s health education programmes annually.
Workers also encourage children to participate in village based sanitation drives, conducted monthly by the women’s groups facilitated by Arpana.
Arpana organises various speciality camps in rural Himachal Pradesh to provide access to healthcare to these disadvantaged communities. Last year, Arpana held 7 speciality camps of gynaecology, surgery, endoscopy, ENT and broncoscopy, at the Bakrota Centre for hill folk who came from as far as 125 kilometers over the mountains. Over 1,000 patients attended these camps last year.