172339 Delivering community based primary healthcare in the Thar Desert, India

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 1:15 PM

Prakash Tyagi, MD , Head Office, GRAVIS, Jodhpur, India
The Thar Desert in India is one of the most underdeveloped regions in the world. Impacted by chronic droughts, the region is impoverished and lacks basic amenities including healthcare. Low level of health awareness, widespread myths on health issues and scarce availability of healthcare contribute to poor health status and lead to a wide range of health problems including malnutrition, deficit syndromes, infections and chronic diseases. The region has one of the lowest infant and mortality rates in the country. The proposed session will focus on the health issues of Thar and interventions taken up by GRAVIS.

Founded in 1983, GRAVIS has been working actively to empower the rural community of Thar. Healthcare is an important sphere of its activity. GRAVIS has set up a network of over 500 CHWs working in the region facilitating treatment of minor ailments, health education, maternity services and referral linkages. Village Health Committees have been set up in 70 villages playing important roles in planning and implementation. Within GRAVIS, a cadre of health professionals has been developed. GRAVIS has also set up the first, fully-equipped rural hospital which caters to over 20,000 patients in a year though its community-based network. Outreach medical services have been benefiting over 10,000 patients in a year. Health services have been linked with the government programmes focusing on family planning, immunization and nutrition. It is also partnering with the Government of India's National Rural Health Mission aiming on holistic delivery of healthcare. Efforts continuing over the last 24 years have resulted into increased health seeking behavior among the community by up to 50%, increase in institutional birth deliveries by up to 40%, reduction in infant and maternal mortality rates by up to 22% and a marked increase in health awareness level. GRAVIS aims on expanding the efforts further with continuous capacity building at community-level. Special focus will be laid on developing specialized cadres of CHWs and setting up small-scale health centers in remote settings.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss and share the role of community in the delivery of primary health care Create tools for sustainability Set up a networking system with individuals and agencies Discuss and exchange views for replication

Keywords: Primary Care, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am directly involved with GRAVIS health programmes in the capacity of a medical doctor and the Director of the organization.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.