India

India: ADEPT successfully exits Kashmir quake operations

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ADEPT has brought its Kashmir Quake operations to a successful close on 31 July 2006. Over the last 2 months of its operations ADEPT focussed on the creation of a team of "Social Health Attendants" (SHA).The SHA is a middle aged woman in the community who is trained as a health worker to supplement the services of the local Primary Health Center (PHC). Under this program 33 Daiees (untrained traditional midwives) were identified, each Daiee covering around 4 to 5 villages. They were then given a one week intensive residential training in reproductive care, psychological first aid, hygiene and sanitation, prevention of infection, vital sign monitoring, family planning, management of simple wounds and injuries, aseptic child-birth, maternal and infant care,basicprimary care ofthe 10 most common illnesses, and early referral of problem pregnancies and other ilnesses to the nearest PHC. The training was carried out by ADEPT's medical team along with doctors and other health staff of localPHCs. The SHAs then accompanied ADEPT's medical teams during their last circuit, each trainingaround 10women on the essentials of what they had learned.A total of 363 womenhave thus been enabledashealthworkers who can carry on limited supplementary primary healthcare services in these remote villages.
Simultaneously, monitoring committees were formed in each village by the ADEPT trained youth, under the sarpanch (head) of each village. The monitoring committees were charged with ensuring proper functioning of the SHAs and proper referrals to the Government PHCs. They were then linked up to the local PHCs through the Block Medical officers (BMOs), under the supervision of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the district.The village commitees were also trained in CBDP and preparation for the coming winter. Baila quake relief camp, housing 260 families from 9 villages, was selected for a focussed approach. Thecamp dwellerswere trained in community health and sanitation,construction and maintenence of latrines, and waste disposal.

The need for candles (due to frequent power cuts especially during winter) and units for embroidering cloth (for export to North Indian garment markets) was ascertained and training was given in candle making and machine embroidery. Candle moulds andsewing and embroidering machines were given for starting up small enterprises by womenat the camp. The candles are sold at roadside shops and the embroidery unit has been linked up to existing Government schemes. The camp commitee has been linked up to existing Government micro finance schemes.

A function was organised at the Dak Bungalow atBaramullah on 22 July 2006 attended by sarpanchs of villages in which village committees have been formed, theDaiee SHAs from villages as far away as Titwal and Udussa, beneficiaries from Baila Camp, and representives from the District Administrations, District Health Services, the military, the police services, and local NGOs.

Dr. Gauthamadas, Director ADEPT,thanked the district administrations, the health authorities, the army and other partners for all the support that was extended for smooth implementation of the project and bringing it to asuccessful close.He lauded the doctors, health attendants, paramedics, porters, and trained youth, especially the ladies (doctor and health attendants) who braved the severe winter to trudge for hours through knee deep snow to deliver medical aid and psycho-social services to remote villages, the liaison andsupervisory staff who provided the support to the teams, and the village sarpanchs, committees, Daiees, and other empowered villagers who will carry on the work long after ADEPTs exit.

Addressing the gathering Mr. Baseer Ahmed Khan, District Development Commissioner, Baramullah,thanked the ADEPT teamfor the service that it had been rendering to the people, appreciating the fact that they hadthe rare privilege of rendering services to remote villages through the harsh winter. He charged the district officials with supporting the clear and well planned exit strategy so that the villagers continue to get the care that they had enjoyed through ADEPT.Dr. Manzoor Meer, Chief Medical Officer, Baramullah district, accepted a consignment of medicines for replenishing the first aid kits of the SHAs for the next 6 months, and in his acceptance speech, charged the Block Medical Officers of the concerned blocks (who were present) with ensuring adequate support to the SHAs and for charging the kits as and when required. He said that his door would always be open to the Daiee SHAs andthey could meet him at any time for support and grievance rederessal if any. Village sarpanchs expressed their solidarity with the SHAs and support for their ongoing services.

The project teams were then debriefed and disbanded bringing ADEPT's 10 month operation in the Quake affected villages in Kashmir to a successful close.

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