The Problem:Poverty, marginalisation, lack of transport and means of communication, the influence of traditional healers, lack of information and awareness about health and hazardous hygienic habits! These are some of the conditions still rampant among the tribals. In Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, tribal people live in heavily forested areas and depend on paddy cultivation. Suspicious of strangers, they have little contact with the modern world and the health facilities.
Participatory Approach:The Tribal Health Program was launched with a view of providing the tribals with what they need and not something based on our priorities and preformed notions. The very first Jatra or Tribal Festival was organised in 1998 at SEARCH. It was just the beginning of a series of annual event that serves as a traditional festive carnival with the involvement of tribal leaders, acts as a platform for problem sharing and provides a bridge between traditional and modern medical knowledge. During the Jatra, people voice their health and livelihood concerns to their own community. In response to their discussion, we custom design programmes, integrating local resources. Being involved from the beginning, the tribal people take ownership of their health, engage in change initiatives and feel responsible for a programme’s continued success.
Presently:We have: 48 Danteshwari Sevaks (Community Health Workers named after the tribal Goddess Maa Danteshwari) working in 48 tribal villages of Dhanora Taluka catering to about 12,500 tribal population provide village level diagnosis and treatment for commonly occurring ailments. They have been trained to diagnose Malaria using Rapid Kits and provide prompt and effective treatment. In the last five years, their contribution to the taluka is more than 79,000 treatments. 23 Danteshwari Sevika to provide Home Based Mother and Newborn Care (HBMNC) in the villages Four Supervisors
- Two to provide supportive supervision and maintain the service quality of care by the Danteshwari Sevaks, and to carry out monitoring and evaluation
- The other two visit 2 villages every day for health education
- Malaria Control programme
- Chari Memorial Tribal youth sports event in collaboration with Life Skill Education programme
- Home based newborn care
- Mobile Medical Unit
- Identifying suspected TB patients
- Referring patients for surgery
- Amchi Nirogi Ashramshala project –
- Back ache
- Nausea / Vomiting
- Common cold
Tushar Khorgade Deputy Director of SEARCH and Project and Team Lead of the Tribal Health programme, has been associated with the organisation since 1993. He has also worked for United Nations Development Programme, Indian Institute of Youth Welfare, Council for Social Development and Sneh-deep Jankalyan Foundation. One of the best sportsmen in Shodhagram, he coordinates Tribal Health programmes and youth activities. Mahadeo Satpute joined SEARCH in 1988, as an Arogyadoot after passing 2nd year of Bachelor of Arts. He was promoted as Supervisor in the tribal area. His major responsibilities are undertaking gram sabha, youth meetings and coaching, supervision of Danteshvari Sevaks, training, and providing health education and treatment. Haridas Parshuram Sakhre also joined in 1988 as an Arogyadoot after passing 1st year of Bachelor of Arts. Going one upper he, too, became a supervisor, thus undertaking gram sabha, youth meetings and coaching, supervision of Danteshvari Sevaks, training, and providing health education and treatment. Devla Kadyami Bhaskar a tribal lady who has studied up to eleventh grade from Malanda village of Dhanora block, Gadchiroli, joined SEARCH as a Village Health Worker in 1999. Similarly, promoted as the ones above, she assumed the position of a Supervisor to look after tribal data system. Now, she provides health education in the local language daily covering two tribal villages in the Dhanora block of Gadchiroli. Coming from Madia Gond tribe she is conversant in language and culture. Najuk Jale also from Madia Gond tribe has studied up to ninth grade.Hailing from Paraswadi village in Gadchiroli, he was selected as a Village Health Worker in 2009. Following a similar trend, he became a supervisor to manage tribal data system and now educates 2 villages in a day on health. He is a great asset to the team.