152880 Integrating health initiatives into existing church-based social programs in rural India

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Otis Stanley, DrPH , Dept of Health Professions, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN
Mickey Stanley, PhD , School of Nursing, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL
Improving the quality of life for the people of the developing world is a goal shared between the faith community and secular world leaders. In addition to building churches and sending missionaries abroad to address the spiritual needs of unreached people groups, churches in the developed world are supporting projects that minister to health needs. One such project has been underway for the past two years among the rural fishing villages of Andhra Pradesh, India. An initial assessment focused on safe water, environmental sanitation, nutrition, general preventive and curative health services. Evidence of contaminated water sources, lack of sanitation facilities, childhood under-nutrition, and poor childbirth practices formed the priorities for the current phase of the project. Presentations of the assessment findings resulted in church or individual sponsorship of wells to provide safe drinking water to the village people. Building on an existing literacy evangelism program, health messages are being integrated into the lessons for all age groups regarding personal hygiene practices and the importance of good nutrition for all. In addition, the church structure is being used to provide a village meeting place for bi-weekly lessons open to all faith groups on a variety of health related topics. These include care of the drowning victim, wound care, fractures, treatment of fevers, diarrhea and dehydration (etc.). Particular attention is devoted to traditional birth attendants in each village to improve the birthing practices. Respecting local customs while integrating scientific practices into the training program, is improving health outcomes for the village people.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the role of church sponsored bore wells in providing safe drinking water and sanitation for rural villages in India. 2. Illustrate the use of a train- the - trainer model to educate village people in basic first aid and disease prevention. 3. Discuss the need to improve birthing practices of traditional birth attendants in rural villages to improve maternal health outcomes.

Keywords: Community Health Programs, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.