Health and Hygiene Programs
Right Information Community Health (RICH) Program
In 2012 Kalanjiyam launched the Right Information Community Health (RICH), a mobile medical service for our rural communities. The aim of the RICH mobile health clinic is to provide primary care along with health education and correct health information for our villagers. The RICH van has been designed specially to delivery health awareness using a Television monitor on the rear end of the van.
The response from the local community to the launch of this program is very positive and needs are overwhelming.
The doctor and nurse in the RICH van take time to talk to the villagers to understand their concerns, examine and provide them treatment and information.
The outreach worker talks to the community members gathered around to understand their common health problems and challenges in accessing health care services currently. While the most common problems we are seeing includes fevers, coughs, seasonal allergies, stomach ailments, and nutritional deficiencies, we have also seen patients suspected to have Tuberculosis and Leprosy, who have then been forwarded to the nearest / most appropriate referral centers.
The RICH mobile van currently operates two days a week and covers two new villages and two villages previously visited. On an average, about 100 to 150 people are examined and treated every day. Since its inception, over 200 health camps in 100 villages+ and about 15,000 people have been provided basic health care and medicines.Health Card Program: Since 2008 we have provided free health care access to the children in our Panchayat Union Schools; annually 300 children are benefiting from this program. Kalanjiyam provides a Health Card, using with the parent of the children can take them to a licensed Medical Practitioner in the nearest town and get free treatment for the minor illnesses. On an average about 230 visits are made annually by children and families using this Health Card program, to address the children’s minor ailments.
Feedback from children and parents indicate that this program has made a considerable impact: children’s health problems, however minor are attended to immediately, parents have begun to understand the importance of good health for the child to attend school and learn effectively; and absence from school due to health problems has declined. Starting 2011 year, we are expanding this program to cover over 1000 children in 14 Panchayat Union Schools.
Hygiene and Sanitation program
Lack of hygiene and sanitation facilities in schools is a main reason for drop outs among girl children. Providing for these facilities has been an important focus of Kalanjiyam activities since 2009. In April 2012, Kalanjiyam with support of well-wishers ran a successful fund raising effort on the internet portal Global Giving Foundation, to raise funds towards providing hygiene and sanitation facilities for rural schools.
The following schools have been supported by this program, for construction, renovation and maintenance of school hygiene facilities:
• Zameen Endathur Primary School – construction of urinals and toilets with septic tank, bore well, water tanks and pipes, and maintenance of toilets
• Zameen Endathur High School – renovation of boys and girls toilets with septic tank, providing water tanks and pipes and maintenance of toilets
• Periya Vekkikkadu Middle School – renovation of girls toilet facilities, construction of boys toilets, provision of motor, running water through tanks and pipes and maintenance of toilets
• Athivakkam Middle School – renovation of boys and girls toilet facilities, bore well, motor, water tanks and pipelines
• Melakandai Primary School – water tank and pipelines
• Kizhakaandai Primary School – water tank, motor and drinking water facilities
• Chinna Venmani Primary School – renovation of boys and girls toilet
• Ariyanur Primary School – renovation of toilet and provision for running and drinking water
• Dharmapuram Primary School – water tank and drinking water facilities
• Kalpat School – provision running water, overhead tanks, pipelines and drinking water facilities
• Pudhupatti Middle school – Provision of RO drinking water system
• Thadampatti Primary School – Provision of RO drinking water system
• Periya Venmani Middle School – Provision of clean drinking water
• Maruvalam Middle School – Provision of clean drinking water
The toilets are built with urinals and private toilets. Every hygiene facility is built with a proper septic tank that can be cleaned. Prior to construction, a sustainable waster source is provided through bore well and provision for water to be pumped to overhead tanks through pipelines. All toilets are provided with water storage facility and/ or taps. Drinking water filtration systems are provided through a unique system Akash Ganga (condensing humidity in atmosphere for drinking water) and more recently we are using Reverse Osmosis or UV filtration systems. Local individuals from villages are identified for the upkeep and maintenance. They are provided all the cleaning materials / provisions and their job is to ensure proper use and maintenance, by cleaning a minimum of three times a day.
This program is very successful and has immediate and long reaching benefits. Presently 1000+ students are benefiting from the efforts. The school teachers and children have taken ownership of this program and there is heightened awareness about hygiene and sanitation in the project schools now
Nutrition supplementation and health education program
Our nutrition supplementation program provides sathu mavu or nutrition mixture is provided to the parents of children in all our adopted Panchayat primary schools. The aim is to instill in parents and children the importance of good nutrition and balanced diet for their health and development. The parents are brought to the school and a supply of sathu mavu is provided to them and at this time we reinforce to them the importance of their children having breakfast before coming to school and also a nutritious diet.
During the school, we have been providing additional vegetables raised in Kalanjiyam field premises to be added to the noon meal in school. Besides this, weekly once, banana’s grown in Kalanjiyam field premises are provided to children in the school, so that they inculcate the habit of eating fruits. Kalanjiyam placed para-teachers placed in the schools provide important health education messages: on hygiene and sanitation, hand washing, personal hygiene, use of slippers to prevent hook worm infections, and other such simple but important messages of public health importance. First aid kits have been provided to the schools; any time a child gets hurt, falls or there is minor accident the first aid kit is used to clean the wound and apply antiseptic to avoid infections. The yoga classes introduce by Kalanjiyam are conducted weekly in all our adopted schools.
The main outcome that we see is a change in attitudes and knowledge among our children, teachers and parents. All children in Kalanjiyam adopted schools wear slippers to school and this has become a normal part of their behaviors. The importance of nutrition is understood and there is concerted effort to ensure that children get balanced diets. Children in our adopted schools do not skip breakfast. The teachers in our schools also take an interest in and talk about nutrition and its importance to children and families. The yoga instruction has also brought a new energy among the children and they understand the value of good health and what this means.