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Community-based primary healthcare the Jamkhed Model: Overcoming domestic violence and traditional gender roles

Punam Thakkar1, Preyasi Kothari2, Alex Kaysin2, and Patricia Antoniello, PhD3. (1) Departments of Biology and Anthropology, Brooklyn Colege, City University of New York, 2601 Glenwood Road, Brooklyn, NY 11210, 347 406 6487, punam.thakkar@gmail.com, (2) SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, 450 Clarkson Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11203, (3) Depts. Anthropology and Health Sciences; Program of Public Health, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, 2900 Bedford Avenue 4123N, Brooklyn, NY 11210

The Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP), Jamkhed, Maharashtra, India has developed an extremely effective approach to improving health among the poor and marginalized: community-based primary health care. The model emphasizes three principles: equity, integration and empowerment. CRHP has lead to an unprecedented improvement in the social, economic, and mental health of all those involved in the program, and is instrumental in eliminating domestic violence in rural villages. Domestic violence has just recently entered the public health forum as a serious human rights issue. According to a 1996 UNICEF survey, up to 45% of men in India acknowledged physically abusing their wives.

The education and subsequent success of the Village Health Workers (VHWs) has been crucial in sustaining the health and socioeconomic well being of the villages. Their value to the program has in turn, improved their own mental well being as VHWs realize their own self-worth as women. This is significant because, traditionally, most rural Indian women feel that they have no worth in their society. The status of Indian women in society is intimately linked to their health. Based on ethnographic research and life history interview methodology, we assessed the life experiences of VHWs as agents of change in rural villages. This paper will describe how the transformation of the VHW led to a change in gender role of women involved in CRHP. The social change brought about by the VHW has been instrumental in sustaining the community based primary health care approach.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Rural Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Thirty-Five Years of Community-Based Primary Health Care - The Jamkhed Experience

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA