India is on the rise and growing in all dimensions and this growth has touched every state, city, and town of India Including the State of Assam. But like most of the villages of India, the villages of Assam are also struggling to keep up with this pace of growth, and encountering many Socio-economic hurdles, some very important aspects being proper education, health and hygiene, and employment amongst many others. Through this Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project we are trying to, if not completely solve the health care problem, at least reduce the magnitude of the problem in rural Assam.
The research also mentions that the average cost of hospitalization on an average is Rs. 30,000 which is a significant financial burden to most of the rural population. Every year 3% of the population slips down the poverty line due to expenditure on health and nearly 57% of the population in this region who need hospitalization are not able to afford it.
Having said this, it becomes clear that the involvement of private players in developing the health care scenario of rural Assam is very important, for holistic growth of the state and improving the living standard of the rural communities. Improved health care of the people will mean moral security which in-turn will spill over to financial security, employment security and security of providing education to many children, who cannot afford to attend school due to financial debts of the family.
The Swasthya Mitra Project is aimed at providing Local support to the Communities for preventive, and promotive health. The Project is designed to have a local person (Swasthya Mitra) for every two to three village who is a native of the area and is trained to create awareness amongst the community for helping and guiding them when there is a medical need, by means of identifying the nature of the disease/ disease based on the signs and symptoms, and accordingly guiding them to seek proper medical treatment (which specialty/ dept the patient should go to) without much delay.
Through the Swasthya Mitra project, we are trying to provide help and support at the earliest possible time to the needy people, rather than they waiting for an emergency to strike them. Many diseases or/and conditions are controllable and can be completely cured if detected and treated early and in an appropriate manner.
The Swasthya Mitras are selected through a process that can be stated in the following steps.
1) Interaction with the local village body (Panchayat/ Ward Members) for identifying people who can read and write and are not qualified beyond 10+2, these people will not have any opportunity to seek Govt or Private jobs and employment form them is a big challenge. They should come from a poor to lower middle-class family and should have an attitude to serve.
2) Psychometric Assessment test to select the candidates with the attitude to serve people, and connected to the soil.
3) Personal interview
Over a period of time, the Swasthya Mitras are provided trainings evaluated through exams and eventually the Swastya Mitras will be trained and made capable of –
1) Identifying a wide range of diseases based on the signs and symptoms
2) Help and guide the patients as to which Specialty / Dept is the best for his/ her treatment
3) Checking Blood Pressure and suggesting the Dietary and Lifestyle changes that are needed to control it
4) Checking Blood Sugar and suggesting the Dietary and Lifestyle changes that are needed to control it
5) Providing Injections
6) Providing IV line
7) Stitching of cuts
8) Dressing of Wounds
With all these trainings and knowledge the Swasthya Mitras will become capable to serving the communities and earn a decent livelihood with respect and dignity, as people with such skills are hugely lacking in the villages and sub-urban areas and these areas are the worst affected when the need of such a person arises.