By the Brahmaputra (Vol: 37)
(For the Quarter January – March 2017)
Of Big Ideas and Litmus Tests for Sonowal
Public memory is a fickle thing. Public aspirations soar at times of hope and opportunity, such as when the Bharatiya Janata Party led the assault on Congress strongholds in Assam last year and in other states. The public is swift to anger and quick to reject leaders and parties which have seemingly become puffed up and arrogant, even drunk, with power.Public rejection of government failure to meet aspirations can be sharp and stunning; the Tarun Gogoi government learned from its humiliating defeat last year as did the Congress and UPA as they stumbled into the yawning pit of unfulfilled expectations three years back at the hands of a resurgent BJP under Narendra Modi.
As Sarbananda Sonowal and his colleagues savour their first anniversary – and the Modi government at the Centre, its third, — it’s worth looking at some opportunities and concerns.
At the national level, the Modi effect shows little signs of waning as the recent juggernaut in the Uttar Pradesh elections showed. It was not a flash in the pan. Is it a portend of things to come? However, there are other points to consider. For one, the powerful surge by Capt Amrinder Singh who led the Congress to an equally spectacular victory in Punjab, at the same time as the BJP crushed its opponents in Uttar Pradesh, was a clear warning to those who become complacent in the kursi of office. That result underscored the awful deadweight that incumbency, status quo-ism and inability to handle growing public anger can place around a political party’s neck. In Punjab, the lack of sensitivity of the Badal family/Akali-BJP combine to the critical issues of prolific drug abuse and farmer’s distress were regarded as reasons for the debacle.
In addition, the fact remains that whether it is the Delhi Municipal elections or the polls in Assam, Manipur and Goa, the Modi effect is not just significant and capable of swinging the fate and fortune of a government. In terms of influencing the voter, Mr Modi has emerged as a winner on his own in many places with his party a poor second. He’s not just been the party’s star campaigner but also its most winnable feature and factor.
Mr. Modi’s spectacular rise underscores another factor which has been at the heart of politics here, there and everywhere – the role of personal equations and image. Today, these remain as important as they have ever been in our country. It was there from the time of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi (with her Garibi Hatao – Banish Poverty –slogan, although cynics later said that at the time of the internal state of emergency, her regime simply garib ko hataya (removed the poor), of Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi and now this era. Personalized politics has become more impactful this time especially since today, hundreds of millions of Indians buzz, message, ping, write, report, abuse, provoke, claim and expose every day in a million different ways – they use Twitter and Facebook, Instagram and Precis, Cloud and Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, Skype, blog, follow, unfollow and troll. All are on board the great internet highway express but not all users are welcome.
In Assam, the image of Sabananda Sonowal is important. Although, some disenchantment appears to be setting in the middle class and urban groups in the state, I believe that many are prepared to give more time to this government to prove itself. That is why it seems to be in a hurry to do just that. Mr. Sonowal and his most important colleague, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Health and Education Minister, have set their sights high but also need to keep their feet firmly grounded.
They are aware that is not just the big ideas which will assure them of people’s support, it is delivery on the ground, of services and meeting basic needs. They need to assure all communities across the state that they will not countenance any harassment or discrimination, any prejudice or hate speech or crime against minorities of any religion, ethnic group or linguistic pocket. The rights of a human being to life are paramount, they surpass other rights.
The police need to be given a clear mandate to go after those who break the law in any manner – and not be pulled one way or the other. The police must uphold the rule of law and the rights of all citizens, be it in the BTC area, Goalpara or Dhubri, the hill districts, Lakhimpur or Dhemaji, Guwahati or Gohpur.
This is one of the litmus tests for this government –it cannot be seen to be taking the side of one group against the other, no matter what the pressures are from Delhi or anywhere or anyone else. For Assam is not like any other state of India. Indeed no other state has the challenge of complexity that Assam faces. The challenge of governance and government in the state is a management of contradictions as well as acute diversities. Add to that the pressures of poverty and underdevelopment apart from internal conflicts of all kinds.
The chief minister has a vision for a global business centre in Guwahati, he wishes to host a global business summit (I wonder how the city’s poor infrastructure will bear up to this, unless the event is limited to the five star hotels in the Khanapara/VIP road area) and wants to push the Act East Policy while speaking of dredging the Brahmaputra and using the silt to build highways on either side.
Let me take issue with the last idea, the second litmus test: this will be disastrous for the ecosystem of the Brahmaputra river (dolphins, fish species, plants and herbs, insects and birds, the list is endless) and also for the farming communities which are dependent on the silt that is brought down the river. Highways on either side may look good on paper but make no concession for the geological and natural systems which prevail. In fact, the chief minister is surely aware of the many hydro power projects being built in Tibet by the Chinese which will clean the river of sand and silt and basically deprive downstream nations (India and Bangladesh) of precious silt.
He should raise his voice in and to Delhi to place pressure on the Chinese on their gigantic dam-building project. It’s not just One Belt One Road we should be concerned about but the fact that China is also building a network of dams on the western side of the Himalaya for Pakistan. China seeks to control the flow of rivers, control the flow of energy and, thus, the lives of nations.
Finally, I wish to draw the government’s attention to the third litmus test, of intention and delivery: a few days ago, the Assam Tribune published a photo which showed a small group of young boys and girls, precariously perched on a small country boat from the remote river island village of Majgoan, Tinsukia district. They were going to school, as they did every day. It looked extremely dangerous, which it probably is. These are the gaps the Government must meet — not by building a bridge, but providing better and safer boats, equipping them with life jackets and ensuring that the boat crews are well trained. This is also part of developing infrastructure, of up skilling, of ensuring better education, of providing jobs.
Think big but build step by step. Great targets are achieved, not by great slogans, but by working with and listening to people.
Sanjoy Hazarika, Managing Trustee
(From his regular column in the Assam Tribune published on 24th May 2017)
Sir Mark Tully, Gillian Wright visits Boat Clinic
Sir Mark Tully, the legendary BBC correspondent and former Bureau Chief of BBC, New Delhi., India along with renowned writer Gillian Wright visited a Kamrup Boat Clinic conducted health camp on the 25th of February 2017. After a half hour boat journey the health team with the visitors reached Laheswari island village with a population of 998. An awareness session was held before starting the camp where Dr. Prakash Barman discussed various health related issues including the need for a nutritious diet with locally available products. The doctors examined the patients, a wide variety of tests were done on the spot and the nurses immunized babies and kept patients’ records. The pharmacist provided the medicines prescribed. At the end of the day, 99 patients were treated. The visitors observed the health camp minutely, interacted with the beneficiaries and the team members.
“I am delighted to have seen the excellent work you are all doing which clearly means so much for the patients who gather in large number wherever you land. This is a unique service but which could serve as a benchmark for the government of how with courage, initiative and enthusiasm it is possible to deliver essential services with genuine care which is so clearly appreciated” wrote Sir Mark on the visitors book while Gillian Wright added, “I am so happy and privileged to have seen the Boat Clinic (or at least one boat clinic in action). It is something I have wanted to do for many years and it has been a fascinating, educative and inspiring experience. Wishing that you continue from strength to strength.”
Volunteers from Spain
Clara Gené Škrabec and Mariona Condom Sinyol who recently graduated from Medical School at the University of Barcelona, Spain volunteered with C-NES ‘ Boat Clinic health teams from the 17th February 2017 to March 3rd 2017 across four river island districts- Kamrup, Morigaon, Jorhat and Dibrugarh. During their studies, they had done some internships abroad in other European countries as they were interested in seeing other healthcare systems and the everyday medical practice. India had attracted them for quite a while and they wanted to see how different the medical practices in this country was compared to theirs.
They attended day camps at Kamrup on the 8th of February 2017 with Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer and Morigaon on the 9th with Technical Consultant Dr CR Hira after which they spent three days on the Jorhat Boat Clinic. Finally at Dibrugarh, they spent a night on the Boat Clinic Akha and also got to know C-NES’ Radio Brahmaputra, the community radio station. They interacted with the health teams and beneficiaries in each district and were amazed to see the variety in culture and beliefs among the river island dwellers. The observed how awareness sessions were held in camps including lessons for women that are changing their way of living for the better. They add “The first thing that we noticed was that the organization of the boat team is optimal regarding the number of members and their responsibilities. All the members know their duties and carry them out as a well-adjusted engine. In addition, the care is perfectly adapted to the communities and their special needs. During this experience we learnt that health care makes much more sense when it is centered on people’s needs, rather than just repeating the same standard model. They told us they do not usually do a physical check-up of pregnant women, only when a complication is suspected, because it would not be well received in this conservative community. We learnt that it is actually more important to build trust and reach more people than to follow a thorough protocol. We’ve had the opportunity to get to know the amazing work the Boat Clinics are carrying out with the isolated communities on the islands of the Brahmaputra River, and we have great affection for the people we’ve met along the way.”
They have also shared their experiences on the Boat Clinics in a blog. The link follows:
Solar Light for Island Villages
Thanks to a philanthropist, remote villages in the Brahmaputra river islands in Assam will soon be lit up with solar street lights. The donor, Almitra Patel, based at Bengaluru is a member of the Supreme Court committee for Solid waste management for Class 1 cities, Technical expert, Swachh Bharat Mission, Government of India, Clean Jharkhand Project and Ganga ICDP Kanpur. She felt the need of the communities inhabiting the islands while reading an article on the Boat Clinics written by Devjyot Ghosal in the Quartz India online magazine and appreciated C-NES’ innovative health outreach work in the Brahmaputra islands.
Partnering with Thrive Solar Energy Private Ltd, Hyderabad, which was recently awarded the second position in the category of Solar Home Systems by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Patel has donated one solar LED street light for every sapori , as the islands are called locally, that the Boat Clinics reach. These compact lights with built-in batteries, designed and manufactured in Hyderabad, were sent fully assembled and ready to mount on a bamboo pole within ten minutes by the community workers of the health team in each of the 15 Boat Clinic units in 13 districts who were earlier trained for the purpose.
Two young persons from the river island communities were nominated by C-NES to Hyderabad’s Thrive Company who were given a weeks hands on training on solar light. The lights will banish darkness, if located at 3-4m height, without affecting adaptability to darkness. If required for reading below them, they may have to be fitted on a shorter pole which the villagers can figure out, but casting a smaller pool of light. If the saporis change shape or disappear, the residents can carry the light along with their other belongings and easily re-erect it on a new bamboo pole. The lights themselves will have 10-20 years life without fading. They have sensors which will automatically illuminate when sun sets and will be off at sunrise. A token amount of Rs.100/- per light will be collected from the village so that the villagers have a sense of ownership.
339 Solar Street Lights (SSLs) are being donated in three batches. The first batch was for four mid Assam districts (Sonitpur, Morigaon,Nalbari,Kamrup) where 111 SSLs were installed. The second batch was for 5 upper Assam districts (Tinsukia, Dibrugarh,Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Jorhat) where 92 SSLs were installed.
C-NES Workshop “Mobilizing the Unreached”
A state level workshop “Mobilizing the Unreached” was organized by C-NES at Guwahati’s NEDFi conference hall on 25th January 2017. Dr. Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, PFI, New Delhi, Dr.Bamin Tada, Director RRC, Guwahati, Sameer Sinha (IAS) Commissioner & Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Govt of Assam along with Sanjoy Hazarika, Managing Trustee, C-NES, were present on the occasion among others.
A book which graphically maps the health choices and challenges before women in the isolated island communities on the Brahmaputra River in Assam was released on the occasion. Authored by Chandana Bora, State Advocacy and Family Planning Coordinator, C-NES-PFI project and Dr CR Hira, Technical consultant, C-NES the book titled ‘Women and Reproductive Health’ looks at the health concerns facing by women in the char/ sapori (island in Assamese) areas.The book is based on a family planning intervention that addressed gender exclusion in nine districts, conducted by C-NES.
As a result of the project spread over seven years in districts as disparate as Dibrugarh and Dhubri, Barpeta and Sonitpur, family planning has picked up significantly in several minority pockets as well as those inhabited by general caste groups.
‘Women have been the leaders of this change because they know how badly their lives are impacted by multiple pregnancies and deliveries,’ said Sanjoy Hazarika. This point was underscored by Dr Muthreja as well as senior officials, health professionals and activists, speaking of the need for women’s empowerment and entitlement.C-NES’ initiative on health care by tapping local human resources needed to be sustained and expanded, said several officials included Dr. Bamin Tada, director of the centrally supported RRC in Guwahati.
Sameer Sinha, Assam’s health commissioner, made a presentation on a proposed initiative by the Govt of Assam to improve health conditions in the tea gardens. The workshop, attended by health professionals, activists, field workers, media and others looked at strategies to make advocacy and behavior change sustainable in difficult to reach areas.
C-NES and Hyderabad based SaciWATERs, have signed an MOU in November 2016 for a cooperative engagement in a research project titled, ‘Building Capacity of Civil-Society Organisations and Communities for Effective Engagement in Transboundary Decision-Making Process of Brahmaputra River.’ The primary aim of this project is to build capacity of civil society organizations and their representative communities, specifically women for effective engagement in transboundary decision-making process of Brahmaputra River. It aims to create a platform to discuss the issues, challenges, and opportunities towards improved co-management of the river basin. The project started as a bilateral dialogue between India and Bangladesh and eventually evolved into a multi-lateral dialogue forum with the inclusion of Bhutan and China. The project will have three target groups- Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s), Community Leaders and Women Groups. In this regard, the project is guided by three basic objectives, which are as follows:
To build capacity of the CSOs and community leaders (emphasizing women) through interactive training programs at the country level,to engage state and non-state actors (CSOs and CBOs) for improved interaction related to Brahmaputra river basin,to share knowledge and experience between CSOs of the four riparian countries (India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China) on transboundary water governance to collectively develop solutions towards river water management and e-flow.
To achieve the above objectives the project will focus on communities along the three tributaries of the Brahmaputra — Subansiri, Siang and Dibang. As such, the mixed Assamese community leaders from (Subansiri), Mishing community (Siang) and Deori community (Dibang) people would be selected from downstream Assam.
These communities have been for long struggling against seasonal floods and erosions as well as development projects (infrastructure and hydropower) that threaten river flows that subsequently impact their livelihoods. The project is now in its first phase. Under this phase, an effort is made to understand and analyse the challenges and opportunities that these people experience and to what extent the river is a source in preserving their culture, tradition and livelihood. Lastly, a vital achievement of this project has been recognition of the significance of a dialogue process in the Brahmaputra Basin by both track III (CSO/ NGOs/ Academicians/ Media) and track II (Govt. officials/ Bureaucrats) stakeholders.
C-NES and Constellation
A training on the SALT approach project on RI at Guwahati
on 14 February 2017. The group also visited Bongaigaon soon after for 2 days field training.
Constellation, a registered not for profit organization with its head office in Belgium through their Indian partner Samraksha have entered into a one year partnership with C-NES from February 2017 to work together on a project titled “Impact assessment of the SALT ( Stimulate, Appreciate, Learn and Transfer) approach of community engagement to increase immunizations coverage through ownership – a mixed methods study in Assam. The SALT approach of community engagement initiated by Constellation has been widely appreciated and used by different organizations globally. C-NES had been given the responsibility to conduct the project in 30 villages of Bongaigaon district while Voluntary Health Association of Assam (VHAA) have been given Kamrup (Rural)and Udalguri districts.The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) Shillong with support from International Initiative for Impact Evaluation will evaluate and conduct impact assessment for the project and the SALT approach. The partnership’s main objective is to improve children’s health via increased immunization uptake.
Interacting with Jean Louis Lamboray : The Co-founder of Constellation, Jean Louis Lamboray was present at a workshop organized by C-NES with Constellation and VHAA as part of the SALT approach on community mobilization at Guwahati’s Ginger Hotel on 27th and 28th March 2017. Lamboray shared his recent book “What makes us Human” and actively interacted with the participants. Rituu Nanda, the Share Facilitator was present. Ruchira Neog, Executive Secretary and Jyotika Baruah,Senior Programme Officer from VHAA were also present. A field visit to Rajapanichanda village at Rani in Kamrup district was organized as part of the workshop.
Media/ Articles on C-NES
Held as a flagship innovative programme by the Government of Assam, the Central Government and UNICEF, the boat clinics along with other C-NES initiatives have been written about extensively in local, regional, national, and international media. The links to the media coverages during the quarter follows:
Find out how “Vessel of hope” or the floating hospitals are helping people in Assam
by Chandrani Sinha / February 3, 2017
The boat clinics are equipped with a vaccine kit, necessary medicines for a basic health check, a laboratory kit to collect blood. read more..
To change India, we need a State-NGO collaboration
by Sir Mark Tully / Hindustan Times published on March 5th 2017
The governments’ failure to deliver more effectively on human development indicates they need to look for new models and replicate them, taking advantage of NGO initiatives and their ability to provide services as effectively as the Brahmaputra boats do. read more..
Public Health Care: Too Far, Too Little For Assam’s Riverine Islanders
by Anjali Paul April 10, 2017
Who is the public health system actually catering to, if not these vulnerable women and children of the riverine islanders who actually are in dire need of these services? Do they not come under the MDG goal umbrella? Read more..
Driven By Passion: C-NES’s Boat Clinic Crew in North-East India
By Anjali Mariam Paul on May 16, 2017
Anjali Mariam Paul is currently completing her M.A. in Development Studies from Azim Premji University in Bangalore. She spent 6 weeks last summer interning with C-NES where she came face to face with the adversities faced by the riverine islanders in Assam, India; which encouraged her to pursue an independent study on Assam’s health system in her last semester. Read more..
Assam’s Brahmaputra Community Radio Station: Innovation in health communication Perspective
Anjali Mariam Paul / Azim Premji University Posted On: 12 May 2017
River Brahmaputra which flows across the Northeast Indian state of Assam, carves out a network of nearly 2,300 islands, isolating them from the mainland and excluding their inhabitants from access to basic infrastructure and health facilities. Based on her fieldwork, Anjali Mariam Paul describes the working of an innovative intervention in health communication – a non-commercial grassroots community radio station for these river islands. Read more..
Volunteering for a Dental Camp
Dr Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat, Assistant Professor, Srinivas Institute of Dental Sciences, Suratkal, Karnataka, initiated and coordinated with Mahindra Finance Limited to provide funds for two sets of mobile dental unit as additional service to the remote island population through the Boat Clinics. The service was started in March 2016 at Jorhat Boat Clinic and in February 2017 at Bongaigaon Boat Clinic with support from the District Health Society. Dr. Kuldeep visited Assam in March 2017 to volunteer and conducted dental treatment camps on board both Bongaigaon and Jorhat Boat Clinic for the rural and needy river island population, unable to access and/or afford such services. He had earlier conducted similar dental outreach program in May 2014 at Leh, Ladakh. He recalls his unique experience:
Report on visit to Boat Dental Clinic
As rightly said, “when it comes to global health, there is no ‘them’ only ‘us’”.
The concept of providing healthcare services on boat for the habitants of riverine island of Brahmaputra was started by C-NES about a decade ago. I came to know about this project sometime in 2012. Back then a vague idea about an oral health care service provision on boat had occurred to me. It has been a long journey since then. The blue-print of the entire program was sorted out with the cooperation of C-NES, and finally the boat dental clinic program took off in March 2016. In March 2017 I finally had an opportunity to visit and volunteer in 2 boat clinics in Bongaigaon and Jorhat, where the dental unit are installed.
The dental set up is a makeshift arrangement (on purpose) and yet is substantial and functional. It is equipped with a portable dental chair, a portable compressor and light source. The portability of the set up makes it effective in case the villages are away from the shores and demand some shuttling. The setup is adequate for screening patients for dental diseases, preparing cavities (to drill and remove the diseased tooth) and fill them, for scaling (cleaning of teeth) and removing decayed tooth (extraction). The set up is also fortified to manage any medical emergencies arising during dental procedures. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”, which is the basic operational essence in outreach programs can be clearly witnessed in this set-up.
Any outreach activity also significantly hinges on appropriate and dedicated human resource. Since boat clinic program is based on Private Public Partnership model (PPP), one qualified dentist employed under the banner of National Health Mission is deputed for one week on the boat every month. This flexible pattern ensures that, dental services at other health centers are not compromised. Apart from dentist there is one assistant, one Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), one GNM, and other members who are usually present on boat. This makes a satisfactory team for basic dental care.
Conditions requiring complex treatment, however, have limited scope of receiving adequate treatment. This is because such conditions require multiple sitting procedures with a certain time interval in between each session. Also, since dentists are deputed for one week very month, the remaining three weeks go without any oral health care being provided.
An effective way to overcome this drawback could be to utilize the services of ANW and GNM. These can be trained by a qualified dentist about the concepts of sterilizing dental instruments, cleaning of teeth, performing preventive restorations, drilling cavities and filling them. Oral health education to maintain their oral hygiene and importance of the same can be done by trained medical staff on the boat.
The biggest strength of boat clinics is the sheer determination and a zealous passion of the entire team (right from helper, cook, cleaner to medical team) to work for humanity. Grounded to reality, the innovativeness, motivation, training, learning and most importantly partnering with other agencies but not being dependent on them makes this project the best and the first of its kind in India and abroad. I have drawn a tremendous inspiration from this team.
Reaching out to those who are justly in need dental services is rather satisfying. The population being aided is one which has no access to any oral health services commutable by road, since this population resides on riverine islands formed due to ferocious coursing of Brahmaputra. C-NES had been doing a phenomenal job in providing general health services on boat, but in case any discomfort caused due to dental pain, these habitants had to either travel across Brahmaputra using a boat or suffer in silence. A dental clinic alongside general health clinics on boat has brought relief and reassurance to many. It has also opened opportunities for preventive and educative undertakings that would dramatically improve the oral health status of these inlands.
Having planned a program from scratch and gradually giving a shape and finally seeing it being implemented after a long wait of more than 2 years gives me immense satisfaction. I feel as if I could contribute for the welfare of our nation with whatever little knowledge I have. I am also grateful for having this opportunity where in I could mediate in a small way, a healthy smile to islanders, amidst their harsh lives.
Brahmaputra Community Radio Station (BCRS) or Radio Brahmaputra as it is commonly known, is based at Dibrugarh, very close to where the mighty river flows by at Maijan ghat. The station is unique in the sense that it caters to the needs and aspirations of people belonging to as many as five communities residing around the area in as many local languages – Shadri (dialect of the tea tribe community), Assamese, Bhojpuri, Bodo, and Mishing. While BCRS seeks to reach the most marginalised groups in 14 islands and 30 tea plantations and more than 180 villages in Dibrugarh district, its footprint reaches across the Brahmaputra to other districts as well. Today it broadcasts for eight hours every day on FM 90.4 from Dibrugarh and can be heard in three districts along and across the Brahmaputra.
Besides empowering people living in remote places with daily updates on demonetization,the BCRS also lent a helping hand to rural people who were having a difficult time with the change in the existing monetary policy . It has been spreading awareness through broadcasts on the dos and don’ts of demonitisation in rural areas. Its network of community reporters met those who were fooled in the name of tendering change or had to wait for long hours outside banks and were clueless about the changing guidelines. In socially excluded and geographically secluded areas like the river islands, tea gardens, and slum pockets, innovations like BCRS are best suited to tackle issues of community concern. Recruitment of reporters from the communities, efforts to identify and cover issues of local importance, and interactive forums to share information, are some of the innovative features of BCRS .
From the Field
Joymoti Devi, is a homemaker like most others in Dibrugarh districts Lowkiali chapori, she has three children-2 boys and 1 girl, her husband is a gowala (milkman) with few cattle. Joymoti is now 30 years old but she looks much older. Her swollen blunt fingers depict the hardships of her day to day life. She has completed the routine immunization of her youngest child three months before, but she always comes to the boat clinic camps and is popular among the entire boat clinic team of Dibrugarh district. They are amazed at the tremendous work load she has to bear to support her family, how much she has to engage herself from dawn to dusk. She always asks us for vitamins and pain killers to the doctors, the doctors always advise her to take good nutritious food and sufficient rest-she says in reply from where she will get those nutritious food, even her family has to sell last bowl of milk, nothing could be grown in the sandy soil and if she takes rest then her family will die in starvation. Actually this is the story of almost every woman in the chapori, they had early motherhood, with more children with less spacing, with little resources for livelihood and without enough nutrition and care, and thus all the women became anemic with chronic joint and muscular pain, they are affected by earlier aging factors. Joymoti has a difference that she loves and dares to talk because of her nature, she shares her grief/problems with this boat clinic team as she had got the help during her critical period from this team, she could protect her children even at this upsetting environment like a good friend. She often says-“Every arrival of AKHA boat rejuvenates the desire of living in the valley of frustration and illuminates the timid wick of life.”
by Arup Kumar Saikia, DPO, Dibrugarh
Awareness session at Dhemaji
An awareness session on family planning was conducted by the Dhemaji Boat Clinic Unit at Kobu Sapori under Jonai BPHC on 10th January 2017. Over 50 households benefitted from it. Dr. Vivek Sahu supported by Community Worker(CW), Punyeswar Baruah, informed the villagers about the importance, benefits and means of family planning- how it helped the mother regain her health after delivery and gives her time to provide attention and love to her children. The children would benefit too as a healthy mother produces healthy children. The father would benefit as it would lighten his burden to support the family, the society as a whole benefits. They were also informed about the contraceptive methods available and told about the other benefits of using methods such as condoms and OCP as it reduced the risks of ovarian, endometrial cancer as well as the risks of AIDS/STD.
Awareness Camp at Dhubri
The Dhubri Boat Clinic Unit I organized an awareness camp on 15th March 2017, at the Boldiaralga NC under the South Salmara PHC. There were 150 participants from char areas and 8 participants from District level. The DPO of the Boat clinic Unit, Sultan Nekib seen giving an awareness talk at the session
In February ,2017 Boat Clinic Dhubri unit-I conducted deworming sessions as part of the National Deworming Programme
Jorhat: Awareness on Tobacco Control and TB
The Jorhat district Tobacco Control cell organized an awareness camps at the island villages of Majuli in collaboration with the Jorhat Boat Clinic on 11th and 12th January 2017. 12 special awareness camps on TB eradication, Tobacco control were conducted. An Awareness Documentary was also shown at seven villages. Dr. Bhaktimoy Bhattacharyya, Dipak Hazarika and Biju Kaman from the District TB cell stayed with the Jorhat Boat Clinic team and conducted the awareness camps.
In February 2017, the Boat Clinic unit conducted de-worming camps and distributed Albendazole anti-worming tablets to school going children in the targeted char/villages.The ANMs, ASHAs, AWWs and CW actively participated. The same month additional dental services were also introduced in the unit. Dental equipment were set up onboard as part of CSR initiative of Mahindra Finance.
The Sonitpur Boat Clinic team on way to a health camp at Thengbhanga char as part of Intensive Pulse Polio Immunization(IPPI) first round camps where general checkups of beneficiaries were also conducted. ASHAs and AWWs participated actively. Awareness meetings was conducted before staring the IPPI camps.
The Boat Clinic unit on way to conduct a camp in remote Amarpur sapori
Nalbari DPO,Parvis Ahmed on way to conduct a camp in Paptamari char