India – Health Volunteers in Rajastan

Date: 10.04.2013
Category: Health, Travel

January 2013 took me to India, again with Save the Children and a bunch of lovely health workers. You can see British midwife Claire Parker’s excellent blog about the trip here.

We started out in Rajastan visiting clinics and community projects around Tonk near Jaipur. Watching Dr Surendra Goyal is the only doctor at the OPD in Tonk which serves 40,000 people was a humbling experience. He sees approximately 200 patients a day and is supported by one Auxiliary Nurse / Midwife. This situation is indicative of a more general problem; India is lacking 2 million health workers to serve its expanding population. Without the network of dedicated Community Heath Volunteers and Accredited Social Health Activists, supported by NGOs, the public health system in India would collapse.

Following the visit to the OPD we visited the hospital were impressed to see a comparatively well equipped special care baby unit in Tonk hospital. This is apparently the best in any  regional hospital in India.

From Tonk we followed ASHA worker, Alka Saaran, in Rupangarh village visiting 8 month pregnant Mamta (pictured),who is 24 and has a 2-year-old daughter, she had already lost one baby to pneumonia.. She and her fellow volunteers are using a mobile application developed by Save the Children in 2008 to give health advice to pregnant women. With a simple interface, on a very basic phone, up-to-date health advice is administered in images and spoken instructions, and information is gathered about each mother. It is a fantastic invention. The app has proved enormously successful in Rajastan, and the Indian Government has plans to trial the app in other states.

Here are few other random pictures from the beautiful desert state of Rajastan.

Raj Yagnik