Growth of Development

No of families covered under Health & Education
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No of families covered under BHP
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No of branches covered under BHP
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Health Education


Background of the program

Healthcare continues to remain outside the domain of poor with serious repercussions felt in the economic and social spheres. Poor people are deprived of the knowledge of primary healthcare and existence of government health centres. Existing government health centres are not equipped adequately to fulfill the primary needs of rural poor and thereby deliver services in an optimal manner. Lack of awareness about quality health care has also augmented health problems of poor to a large extent.

The aforesaid health scenario can be dealt with to an appreciable extent through direct health interventions at the community and household levels.

Bandhan Health Program (BHP) commenced in 2007 in some of the most economically and socially deprived areas of rural West Bengal.

Target group

The health initiative targets the village community with special focus on children, adolescent girls and women.

Objectives

  • To create health awareness amongst mother and adolescent girls
  • To ensure easy accessibility to health servicesavailable at government and non-government level in a sustainable level
  • To reduce the health expenditure of poor families
  • To develop health entrepreneurs/volunteers

Basic outline of the Program

Physical well-being in a particular village is ensured primarily through promotive, preventive and curative healthcare. In this regard, active participation of the village community is sought to ensure greater effectiveness of the program. Interested poor woman from a village are selected and trained as health volunteers to improve the health conditions of her village. They undergo an intensive training before getting to action on ground. Apart from the technical medical training, they are also trained to establish liaison with government health officials and to participate in national health campaigns. Upon successful completion of the training, certificates are provided and thereafter, they commence work.

Components of the Program


  • Health Education
  • Health Kits
  • Providing linkages / referrals
  • Free Camps
  • Vaccination Programs

Health EducationHealth KitsProviding linkages / referralsFree CampsVaccination Programs
Develop Health Volunteers-
  Physical well-being in a particular village is ensured primarily through promotive, preventive and curative healthcare. In this regard health volunteers are developed. They are selected from interested underprivileged women within the community. Rounds of intensive training are imparted to them before they actually take up the role of health volunteers. Apart from technical medical training, they are also trained to establish liaison with government health officials and to participate in national health campaigns. Upon successful completion of the training, certificates are provided and thereafter, they commence work. These health volunteers are popularly called 'Swastha Sohayika'(SS).    
Health Forums- Health education is delivered to village communities through interactive and participatory health forums on varied subjects in the presence of young mothers and adolescent girls. The same is facilitated by Bandhan's health volunteers and Health Community Organizer (HCO). In order to make the health forums effective, flip charts are used and role plays by the participants are done.

Some of the issues discussed at the health forums are
 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Care of pregnant women
  • Water and sanitation
  • Planning for better health
  • Pneumonia
  • Family planning
  • Quality health care
  • Ante natal care
  • Neo natal care
  • Safe delivery
  • Care of sick children
  • Breast feeding
One SS visits around 20 households in her village every day. These health workers make regular follow up visits to households to reinforce the message delivered at the forums and check if they are practicing what they are taught at the forums. They spend about two hours in a day visiting households in their communities assessing household health practices.
     

Funding support

Bandhan Health Program (BHP) commenced in 2007 in some of the most economically and socially deprived areas of rural West Bengal. The program was introduced in association with Freedom from Hunger, a California based organization by setting up 3 branches in the Howrah district. They extended support for a 3-year period. But the gradual expansion took place in phases; the expenses of those were borne by the surplus of the Bandhan’s microfinance operations.

The health program is now active in 2 states – West Bengal and Tripura and the services are being delivered through 48 branches. 2 new branches are to be opened shortly, so that makes it to a total of 50 branches by March 2011 - all being supported by a portion of the surplus of the microfinance operations.

Program Highlights

Performance of the health program has been detailed below. These data are all as of July , 2017.

No Particulars Total
1 States 7
2 Districts 48
3 Branches 232
4 Villages 5,016
5 Swastha Sohayika(Health Volunteers) 5,644
6 Staff 544
7 Health forums conducted 3,192
8 Total participants at the health forum 73,389
9 Beneficiaries 10,85,347

Case Study

Aparna Mondol, an avid multi-tasker urged to grow up at a more profound level after she had sorted out her financial matters in last few years. Acquainted with Bandhan for more than three years Aparna is adept at dealing with various issues at a time. Despite critical challenges she has always moved on with slow but firm steps. Her dream to do something for people awaited an opportunity and the chance to execute her plans arrived with Bandhan's Health Program. “I always wanted to do something for my village. So, when I received the proposal to be a Swastha Sohayika I grabbed it without giving it a second thought”, she recalls.

Banking on her loyalty and hard work Bandhan inducted her into Suchana Loan three years ago. For Aparna constraints were never big enough to infringe her hope and desire for a better life. So, she overcame her financial vulnerabilities within a few years by the help of subsequent loans. Her positive attitude and indefatigable nature are something that impressed the organization most; therefore, Aparna was given priority over the other preferences during the selection of Swastha Sohayika for the health program.


She is working hard in her role as a Swastha Sohayika in the district of South 24 Parganas in the state of West Bengal and her performance has been really commendable. Aparna is quite praised for the suggestions and medical assistance she provides to her villagers. “Earlier we had to run to hospital for trivial issues as there was no better option for us but now things are different. I was suffering from Diarrhoea a month ago. Aparna di had given me a few medicines and ORS and I am well now. ” narrates Asraf Ali, a neighbor of Aparna.

After receiving the necessary training, Aparna is proudly and gladly serving her role as a Swastha Sohayika by conducting health forums and visiting households in her locality. The community addresses her as a local ‘doctor’. “There are several achievements I have attained since I came in contact with Bandhan. Two among them are most important - I am able to manage my financial problems and have also learnt how to manage health issues”, says a smiling Aparna.