People’s Health in People’s hands- a visit to SEARCH, Gadchiroli
Jan 7 2019 / Posted in Maternal health
By MNH team
Gadchilori is a small district located in south eastern part of Maharashtra. The population here is largely tribal with very poor health care infrastructure. The maternal and neonatal mortality rates were very high. Dr Abhay and Dr Rani Bang, on a mission to provide quality healthcare to local populations, set up SEARCH (Society for Education, Action and Research in Health Action) in 1986.
SNEHA's Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) Program team consisting of senior staff, had the opportunity to visit Gadchiroli on an exposure visit between 4th and 7th December, 2018.
The visit gave the team an opportunity to learn about SEARCH's pioneering Home-Based Newborn Care and to get insights into SEARCH's incredible work culture and research. The team also got to spend precious time with iconic personalities Get better insight into their work culture and research methodology and to meet the iconic personalities Dr Abhay and Dr. Rani Bang. In all, the visit to SEARCH was a memorable experience.
The moment the team reached the SEARCH campus, we reached, there was a feeling of oxygen reaching every part of the body. The campus was a pleasurable sight of untouched nature and greenery and looked like a different world of people in love with nature and striving to keep it untouched by the outer world.
During the campus introduction we came upon beautiful structures built by locals. Each of these structures were innovatively named on a flower or a tree. There was a beautiful lake named PADMAJA which means, ‘’ born from Lotus’’, The food mess was named Moha Muli ( Moha is name of a sweet fruit and Mauli means mother in Marathi). The food served here was as beautiful as its name. The concept of self service was something we won’t find in urban working style. There was a big part of land where there were hospitals and medical store. The treatment here was free and as per global standards. What makes the place beautiful is the people:Dr. Abhay Bang, Dr. Rani Bang and their whole team of doctors and other staff. They take care of the health of the people who visit there for treatment. People have a choice to stay and cook their own food.
SEARCH identifies people in the community who wish to work in health, these community workers then go through different levels of exams where the passing percentage is 90. After passing these exams, the organization elects them as Community Health Workers also known as Arogya Doot( Health Messenger), Even the village heads have a say in the decision making of selecting their Arogya Doot. One such example of Arogya Doot is Kajubai. We met this super woman during our field visit. Her inspiration for working in SEARCH is simple. She says, ‘I am savings lives and that motivates me to do more such work’’. Kaju Bai is a living legend. There has not been a single neonatal death in their village this year thanks to her efforts and enthusiasm.
SEARCH is based on the Gandhian Philosophy of ‘GOING BACK TO THE ROOTS’ and so the work of home based newborn care goes on. One of our most important learnings was that success of any program lies upon Selection, Training and Supervision. Besides newborn care, SEARCH also works on de-addiction, adolescent health, and non communicable diseases. There is a trial on Stroke in community which is currently underway under the leadership of Dr Yogendra who is US trained and returned Neurologist.
The research team is a very efficient and important part of SEARCH and maintains a huge amount of data base and also publishes 4-5 papers per year in national and international journals .The visit to Gadchiroli was indeed an inspiring and motivating experience and will continue to provide guidance to the team for a long time.