Health is prime issue in the rural and Tribal women have raised in the initial days of the programme. Sanitation, personal hygiene, food habits and the inherent medical knowledge of tribal women were the major trust areas of our intervention in Health. Critical analysis of the Social factors - multiple roles women plays, Work load, customs and traditions that influence their health, all directly or indirectly impacting women’s health both mental and physical.
Keeping these in mind various activities are taken up to develop a perspective at village level. Towards this, this year too, specific programmes and activities were held. Women’s reproductive health, Health awareness and checkup camps and campaigns on HIV and AIDS were our areas of action.
REDUCING HIV/AIDS STIGMA, DISCRIMINATION AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AMONG HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
Community-based health care providers (HCPs) are often the first and only care providers accessed by people living with HIV and AIDS, especially those who are living in rural areas. Furthermore, HCPs are generally well-respected and trusted members of the community. Consequently, HCPs are in a unique position to influence both the quality of care provided to people living with HIV and AIDS, and community attitudes and behaviors that can mitigate or exacerbate the prevalence of stigma and violence. However, many health care providers are not sensitive to issues of stigma, discrimination and gender-based violence associated with HIV and AIDS.
To reduce stigma and discrimination and to proactively address gender-based violence, both within their communities and in their practices Holy Cross Social Service Society, in collaboration with International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society (APMSS), has conducted Training Programme among health care providers (RMP’s PMP’s and DAI’s) in Hiramandalam mandal of Srikakulam District aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma and gender-based violence.
Training to Health Care Providers:
Holy Cross conducted trainings with APMSS and ICRW field staff on reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma and gender-based violence. The goal of these sessions was to encourage discussion and reflection among health care providers as a means to ensure that they have accurate knowledge about HIV and AIDS, to promote positive changes in their attitudes, behaviors and clinical practice related to stigma and gender-based violence, and to build dialogue with the local communities and HCPs on these issues. For these trainings registered and unregistered medical practitioners and traditional birth attendants were selected.
The Health Care Providers were motivated for about the knowledge of HIV and AIDS and promoted positive changes in their attitudes, behaviors and clinical practice related to stigma and gender-based violence. In the valedictory session, all the participants were expressed that this training has decreased shame and fear of violence among people with HIV and AIDS and their families and changed attitudes and behavior toward people with HIV and AIDS.
HIV / AIDS CAMPAIGNS:
HIV/AIDS is a new word for the tribals. The easy ways to spread the diseases among the tribals are their marital relationship and social practices. Many of the tribals have more than one wife and lack of personal hygiene which leads to STD among the tribals. Migration also another factor for the spread of HIV/AIDS. Besides these, the unqualified medical practioners who visit these villages and give injections to every patient of the villages with the same syringe needle which is not properly sterilized at all. Therefore to make aware the tribals on HIV/AIDS as prevention the awareness programs organized at village level. The cultural team has performed well on the consequences of HIV/AIDS once it affects the persons. Now all the people of our target villages speak of the HIV/AIDS and people have started demanding sterilizes needle for the injections/ disposed needles.
HEALTH AWARENESS AND CHECKUP CAMPS:
Holy Cross conducted Health Awareness and Checkup camps at our target villages. The Governmental health officials were invited for theses awareness programs. Charts on primary health care were displayed. It has helped the illiterate to understand the topic more clearly. The primary health care practices like personal hygiene and safe drinking water was the main theme of the awareness programs. Cultural shows like role play have attracted the youth and women for these programs.
Many patients were screened after end of the programme in each camp. Many patients attended with fever, T.B skin diseases etc. same of STD, TB and malaria cases also diagnosed and referred to the Governmental Hospitals. By theses camps the tribals who are suffering with T.B. and Malaria could avail the tribal medical grants from the ITDA for further treatment. Medicines also distributed to the needy and poor tribals at free of cost. The camps have mainly helped to avail the maximum Governmental medical services in the project villages and now the CBOs has demanded from the Govt. hospital for a periodical medical camps and medical supportive services. This programme supported by Seva Bharath, Secunderabad.