Online Program

Improving Water and Sanitation Services/Infrastructure: The SEVAK Community Outreach Project in Rural India

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Ranjita Misra, PhD, CHES, FASHA, Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, West Virginia University, School of Public Health, Morgantown, WV
Thakor Patel, MD, Nephrology, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Objective: The SEVAK Community Outreach in rural Gujarat is a 4-year, community-based, statewide screening and educational intervention.  This study evaluated the use of community health workers (termed SEVAKs) to collect individual and community level information on water and sanitation. 26 SEVAKS, 4 Regional Coordinators, and 1 Project Coordinator representing all the 26 counties of Gujarat were trained for one week at the Environmental Sanitation Institute in Ahmedabad and 3 weeks at the Baroda Medical Center by an interdisciplinary team. Targeted participants were adult Indians, aged 18–80 years in all 26 counties India [one village/county] in the state of Gujarat, India. Results: Screening was completed for 28,363 participants [48.5% females and 51.5% males] in the past 4 years. SEVAKs were highly effective in recruiting and screening participants in rural areas: > 95% response rate. This success may be due to their acceptance as members of their villages and trust in the confidentiality of information. 46.5% of the participants reported having no toilet and majority (70% used water from the village tank; 8.8% used tube well or well water and only 1.8% had RO water. These data are currently used by a team [SEVAKs, community stakeholders and councilmen, and NGOs (e.g., WHEELs)] to set up community-wide or village RO water systems, and single/double toilet pits for the socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in the rural villages. Assessment of water and sanitation has led to infrastructure improvement and identification of poor water quality systems. Conclusions: The SEVAK project has been successful in not only for accurate data gathering, screening for diseases and continuous monitoring, but also improving awareness of the health burden of poor quality water and advocate for improved services to NGOs and local community leaders. This is a successful model for improving community health and of socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the SEVAK Outreach program. List the prevalence of water and sanitation services in rural areas of Gujarat. Discuss the need of decision-makers to improve sanitation and water services through collaborative efforts.

Keyword(s): Water & Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Misra is a well-known international health disparities researcher with a terminal degree in Health Services. Her research investigations include prevalence and management of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease in multi-ethnic populations. Dr. Misra is recognized for her investigations in epidemiological and intervention studies, for using a transdisciplinary team approach, and for combining public health and clinical models of inquiry.
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.