Grassroots Health Studies
Monday, August 15, 2016
A team of three university students from Canada visited Ratanpur in Bihar to work with villagers and were in constant touch with the women, men and children. They built a good rapport inspite of language and cultural barriers.
Chantal, Nickza and Jackie are from Ryerson University in Toronto and traveled with Amrita University students and staff as part of the Summer Internship Programme with Amrita University. The objective of the programme is to assess the community health worker’s role in resolving issues at a grassroots level.
They conducted in-depth interviews with Urmila Devie, the Amrita SeRVe-trained health worker in Ratanpur. They got to know what she has been able to achieve in the 4 months since her training in Amritapuri—what she feels confident about and what challenges she is facing.
The health challenges in Bihar are high. For example the infant mortality rate is 49 per 1,000 live births. Globally, it is 32 deaths per 1000 and in Europe, it is 10.
The students also spoke with the Balwadi and Anganwadi workers in Ratanpur and the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) in the nearby village of Hadiabad. They asked about their roles and the demands of their work.
The young women also visited the nearest government primary health center (PHC) and interviewed the medical staff about their experiences with treating the villagers. In addition, they conducted an informal meeting with the Rural Medical Practitioner in Hadiabad.
On one ocassion, on their way to the village while passing through the fields, a few women were doing the rice transplanting work and they invited the students from Canada to join.
Our students happily folded their pants and entered the fields. For the first time in their lives, they were experiencing village field work. All were thrilled. The quick pace of the village women truly astonished them.