Public Health Awareness and Education Programs

In addition to the health centers, the mobile medical and dental unit travels to remote rural areas of Orissa every year at regular intervals to provide health checkups, health camps, dental camps, health awareness camps, social awareness camps, and to distribute free medicine. The team of doctors, pharmacists, and pathologists travel to these camps to provide much needed service to the underserved. In one year, Hariharananda charitable health centers rendered these services to nearly 70,000 people, with more than 7,600 people using the lab resources for basic pathology tests. Dental care was provided to 2,285 people.

Health Camps

The health centers organize both Mobile Health Camps and Composite Health Camps in remote areas where there are no medical facilities. Due to poor road conditions, unfortunately, it is still not possible to access extremely remote villages. Over 700 patients receive free care each month at the mobile health camps, and about 270 patients receive free care each month at the composite health camps. Seven or eight new camps are being organized each month. More and more children ages six through fourteen are now receiving medical and dental care.

Mobile health camps are staffed by a physician and a pharmacist. In the Puri area alone, from August 2004 to July 2006, 56 villages hosted mobile health camps and 10,334 villagers were screened.

A composite health camp is a multi-purpose health activity in which teams of specialized doctors, dentists, nurses, lab technicians, and pharmacists provide free diagnosis, treatment, medicine and health education. These health camps are enthusiastically supported by volunteers and helpers from local villages. In serious cases, people are referred to a nearby hospital. From May 2004 to February 2006, 12 camps were held at different sites, such as the Hind Sevaka Sangha Orphanage in Cuttack, Santananda Ashram in Paradeep, and Panchagaon Village in Tigiria, caring for a total of 3,462 people.

Blood Donation Camps

At the Panarhat Health Center, a blood donation camp was held in February 2004. About 52 people donated blood in the presence of local Members of Parliament who enthusiastically supported the camp.

Health Drives

Two health drives at Penthakata and Nolia Basti fisherman villages near Puri have been running since November 2002 and June 2003 respectively, providing free medical care and medicine to the fishermen and their families. The Nolia Basti camp gives medical care and free medicine to the poorest people regardless of age, caste, creed or ability to pay. Health awareness and education are also given to help people live a life free from disease. At Penthakata, a special health check up awareness program has been going on fortnightly. Doctors and other health professionals from Balighai Health Center have regularly visited the site and shared their invaluable expertise and service.

In the 3 years from 2003 to July 2006, a total of 7,899 patients were treated, with an average of 2,600 people per annum. Total expenditure for this project has been approximately US$9,000. [Rs 4,10,000 @45 Rs to US$]. Additional health drives at Konark Nolia Basti village and two further village camps in Puri started in August 2004 and continue on a monthly basis.

Public Health Awareness and Education Programs

There is a saying, "prevention is better than cure." Health Awareness and Education Programs such as Anti-Diabetes day, World AIDS day, World Health day, Anti-Tobacco day and programs on Dental Health Awareness and other related health topics are regularly organized at the health centers and other public places. Since its inception in 2001 at Balighai Health Center, many people, especially students from the surrounding schools and colleges actively participate in these programs. Booklets on health awareness are printed and distributed to people in remote areas who otherwise do not have access to general health education.

DATE Health awareness and education program
31.5.2001 Anti-Tobacco Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri.
4.10.2001 A debate on "Tobacco Eradication" at Beleswara College,Beleswara, Puri
14.11.2001 A discussion on Worlds Diabetic Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri.
1.12.2001 A discussion on Worlds AIDS Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
11.12.2001 A debate on "Worlds AIDS Day" at Surajmalashah College,Puri
7.4.2002 A discussion on Worlds Health Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
31.5.2002 Anti-Tobacco Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri.
14.11.2002 A discussion on Worlds Diabetic Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri.
1.12.2002 A discussion on Worlds AIDS Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
7.4.2003 A discussion on Worlds Health Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
31.5.2003 Anti-Tobacco Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
28.02.04 National Science day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
24.03.04 World TB day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
07.04.04 World health day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
22.04.04 World earth day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
08.05.04 World red cross day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
31.05.04 World thallesemia day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
2nd Sunday of May 04 World Mother day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
11.07.04 World Population day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
14.11.04 World diabetic day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
01.12.04 World Aids day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
28.02.05 National Science day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
24.03.05 World TB day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
07.04.05 World health day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
22.04.05 World earth day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
08.05.05 World red cross day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
31.05.05 World thallesemia day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
2nd Sunday of May 05 World Mother day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
11.07.05 World Population day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
14.11.05 World diabetic day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
01.12.05 World Aids day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
28.02.06 National Science day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
24.03.06 World TB day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
07.04.06 World health day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
22.04.06 World earth day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
08.05.06 World red cross day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
31.05.06 World thallesemia day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
2nd Sunday of May 06 World Mother day, H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
14.11.07 A discussion on Worlds Diabetic Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri.
26.11.07 World anti obesity day
1.12.07 A discussion on Worlds AIDS Day at H.C.H.C. Balighai, Puri
3.12.07 World disabled day

 

Health Initiatives in Schools

Learning conditions improve with good health. Also, without adequate ear, eye, nose, and throat examinations, learning disabilities may be undetected. In 2001, the "Health Camps in Schools" initiative was started to promote health education in impoverished areas of Orissa.

Two initiatives were embarked upon. Firstly, in collaboration with Hand in Hand, Prajnana Mission introduced a health care program in two elementary schools in an underdeveloped area near Cuttack. In this project, at least 350 students receive a thorough medical check up twice a year, plus follow-up treatment, and each student is issued a health card. The students receive necessary vaccines and dental check ups. Malnutrition is a widespread problem in these schools, and regular check ups enable the medical staff to monitor the students' development. This program was followed by four health camps at Bateswar UP School in Jagatpur and at Patitapabana High Schools in Tirtpl, serving 200 students. An additional health camp was started in Balbadi School in Puri in 2003 for the children of widows within the suburban area of Puri town.

Secondly, the School Health Survey project started in January 2001. Physicians and medical staff at the health centers perform regular health surveys on students at 5 adopted schools. The participating schools are: Saraswati Vidya Mandir at Gatiroupatna, Cuttack; Patitapavan High School at Ambari, Tirtol, Jagatsinghpur; Bateswara U.P. School at Jagatpur, Cuttack; Nuanai M.E. School at Beldal, Puri; and Sri Satyasai Jnana Bikash UP/ME/High School at Pankapal, Jagtsinghpur.

Health Education in Schools - Simple booklets containing information about basic healthcare are distributed in the schools of Orissa to help children and parents become aware of health and hygiene. Physicians volunteer to provide health awareness programs in schools and colleges. The Dental Health Awareness Programs are organized in schools, and the physicians teach the students how to brush their teeth and how to keep their bodies clean and healthy. Free healthcare booklets are distributed. Educational programs for eye disease are also provided by Balighai Health Center.

Primary Schools, Kendrapara district, Orissa - Health check ups are not available for primary and higher primary school students in the state of Orissa. It is not feasible for parents who themselves are suffering from acute poverty and starvation to make a long journey to a health center to ensure that their child gets treatment. Often children are suffering from common ailments which can be prevented and cured by health education and regular monitoring.

Following Prajnana’s Mission success in conducting the school health survey and camps, in August 2003 the Mission started giving free health check ups, treatment, and medicine to primary and higher primary schools in the Pattamundai area of Kendrapara district. The first stage of the school health program is a general screening to identify needs. Then, every student is given a thorough check-up by an experienced team of health professionals, and is issued a health card, which is kept in the school.

In the school dental program, twenty-five percent of children are found to have some sort of dental problem, such as mouth ulcers or cavities. From August 2003 to July 2006, 4 dental camps were organized specifically for underprivileged students at Vaktapur High School, Pattamundai. In total, 126 health and 47 dental camps have been organized within other primary schools in the area. In the Kendrapara district alone, over 16,000 students have been examined, with 4,230 health cases treated and 3,086 dental cases detected. Tooth extractions have been performed on more than 2,321 children (an average of 68 extractions per month). Dental Health Awareness Programs are also organized for the benefit of the students and local people. Health brochures are given to all concerned.