By the Brahmaputra (Vol:16)


C-NES Newsletter
(For the quarter October – December   2011)

Editorial

China backs off the Brahmaputra

The Bard can rest peacefully – China backs off the Brahmaputra Bhupen da can rest in peace – at least as far as his beloved Brahmaputra and Lohit are concerned.  That is, if we are to believe the Chinese.  In quick succession, first at Beijing in October and then barely two weeks ago at a conference on River Waters in New Delhi, China has declared that it will not divert the waters of the Yarlung Tsangpo (also known as the Upper Brahmaputra) in Tibet to quench the great thirst in Northern China. First, the Vice Minister of Water Resources, Jiao Yong, in the Chinese capital on Oct. 12 and then a senior Chinese hydrologist and scholar at New Delhi on declared in similar language that “technical difficulties, environmental impacts and state relations” were responsible for the decision.  This was a part of its Great Western Diversion Plan and the Water Resources Ministry has opposed major hydro-power projects on the river’s ecologically fragile upper course, as it starts it great journey to the Bay of Bengal. Chinese state power companies appear unfazed by the declarations: they continue to advertise plans for a huge power plant near the Great Bend of the Namcha Barwa gorge and a clutch of hydro-power companies have wanted to launch 28 dams but these appear uncertain after the official announcements.
The figures are staggering: in its giant drive to slake its great thirst, China has tapped over 3,000 rivers and water courses.  It plans to harness another 2,000 – or a total of 5,000. The country’s hydro-electric capacity doubled from 100,000 MWs in 2001 by 2010 and now is scheduled to hit 350,000 MW by 2020. China has tapped already
half of its existing hydro potential while that is expected to go up to 81 percent by 2020!
So, before we heave a huge sigh of relief about the Brahmaputra’s future, let’s look at the fine print and see what the Chinese officials actually said: that the technology for such a project does not exist as of the present and the funds required were of too great a
magnitude (now since when did the latter ever stop Beijing from implementing its gigantic projects and grand designs?). Which could mean that if they get the right technology and the funds, they could steamroller it through? What is required is a clear and categorical statement, without ifs and buts, from Beijing: that China will not build any dams on the Tsangpo, barring the 510 MW hydropower project at Zangmu.  Zangmu was a small town some years ago when I visited, while filming the river and its people and their cultures. Flanked on either side by the towering plateau, there is a beautiful bend where the Tsangpo is broad as it froths and skims over unseen rocks, scouring its way through Tibet, catching pace as it rushes toward the Great Bend. This is the deepest cleft on the face of the earth, home to an extraordinary range of tropical forests and alpine terrain.  It is from there that the great river makes its way, leaping effortlessly over international (and yet disputed) borders, thundering through the valley of the Siang, joining the Seyom and the Lohit as they merge into the Brahmaputra. And here’s the contradiction: we are opposed to the Chinese building dams on the river – but we are determined to dam every river in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam, not to forget Manipur (Tipaimukh) and Tripura!  This surely is an extraordinarily hypocritical way to handle both external affairs and internal issues – if our position is that the Brahmaputra is an international river, then surely it does not cease being so the moment it flows into Indian territory?  So, we can harm the Brahmaputra and its great tributaries but want to stop the Chinese from doing so? What kind of logic is that – the impact of the large dams on the Subansiri and the Seyom and Lohit will dramatically affect not just ecology downstream but also the farmlands of Assam and the millions who are dependent on them. Part of the problem is that India, China and none the countries of South Asia have not signed the 1972 International Convention of River Courses which, without being binding, at least provides an international forum to discuss issues of mutual or regional concern.
All of us prefer the bilateral path which can’t work when there are three or more countries involved – the Brahmaputra flows through China, India and Bangladesh.  China has similar problems with other rivers which have their origins in its Southern belt, near the Himalayas – the Irrawaddy, Mekong and Salween, to name three.  I’ve been lucky to travel on all and they are truly great rivers – but they are also international rivers, flowing through two or more countries. China has been building dams and various projects on all of them, with few discussions with the downstream riparian. It has unilaterally, after representatives from the Association of South East Asian Association, made representations and visited several project sites, to cancel one project. Just one out of several. Its aggressive unilateral approach has drawn a blunt response from Myanmar, seen as one of its greatest supporters and allies. Today, Myanmar, eager and hunger for international recognition and assistance and to get out of the Chinese grip on its economy, has replied with unique unilateralism: it has cancelled the largest Chinese dam in Kachin State, citing people’s opposition to the project, displacement issues as well as ecological concerns and that Myanmar stood to gain little since, as in most Chinese power projects in a different country, most of the energy was to be exported to China. The move has stunned the Chinese, coming as it did from a nation that Beijing had given political, economic and military assistance since the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in the 1990s. In the space of a few months, Myanmar is moving fast out of being a pariah state to one which is about to receive the US Secretary of State in the first trip by such a high-ranking American official in half a century. Myanmar is opening up in an unprecedented manner; in the space of barely six months, it has enabled Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy icon, to embrace a political career with her now-recognized National League for Democracy, released political prisoners and opened fresh air to blow through the country; its neighbors, surprised by its ability to taken on the Chinese and move towards opening up,  have rewarded it with the chairmanship of ASEAN, something that would have been inconceivable last year when the UN Rapporteur for Myanmar had delivered a stinging rebuke to its human rights record.

The reason for the Myanmar example is simple: the strength for the resolve to confront China over the dam came from the internal processes of change and freedom that the former generals, who continue to run Burma, had gathered.  A united front on the issue of the use of rivers that flow from Tibet into India’s North East and South East Asia may not be politically possible. It took nearly a quarter century of negotiations to get the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty with Bangladesh. But surely it is not impossible to start a dialogue and develop a common platform on basic issues if not an alliance before the Chinese announce another round of water unilateralism. This is the only realistic and critical approach if we are to protect the water towers and courses of Asia, a continent which receives less fresh water per capita than any other part of the world despite being home to three-fifth of the earth’s population
Sanjoy Hazarika
Managing Trustee

(From his regular column in Assam Tribune, 30th November 2011)


Boat Clinics presented at International Conference

Sanjoy Hazarika, Managing Trustee of C-NES, presented the work of the Boat Clinics in Assam at an international conference in Delhi on Sunday, Nov 20, 2011. He spoke on ‘Waters of Hope: Health Innovations and Interventions on the Brahmaputra’ at the conference, the final presentation of the final session ‘The Way Forward’ at the Conference: ‘River Waters: Perspectives and Challenges for Asia’ organized by the India International Centre and the Foundation for Non-Violent Alternatives. Experts from China, Tibet, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and different parts and institutions of India were presenting, including specialists from IIT Guwahati, Guwahati University. Other speakers are from the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, France and Finland.

 


Workshop on disaster management

A meeting of India’s top seismologists and earthquake specialists, which discussed issues arising from the Sikkim earthquake, has strongly recommended that northeastern states set up their own state disaster response units instead of being dependent on centralised forces like the National Disaster Response Force.In addition, the national workshop on ‘Housing, Resilience and Rehabilitation’ on Nov 11-12 at Jamia Millia Islamia, which saw senior level representation from the governments of five states – Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim – suggested several innovative steps such as extensive use of ham radio operators and “community radio stations in every district” to respond to crisis where normal telecommunications are knocked out, including mobile phone networks.

The ‘father’ of earthquake engineering technology in the country, AS Arya, and others emphasized the critical need to develop quake resistant technology and use bamboo applications wherever possible. They said that most urban centres in the northeast faced major disasters in the event of a severe earthquake: retrofitting of existing buildings, especially “lifeline buildings such as schools and hospitals” was crucial.Other specialists called for campaigns using SMS’ and new technology to sensitize and train people to how they could respond to earthquakes. Another suggestion made was for a “community based participatory monitoring system to track the progress, implementation of technical guidelines, grievance redressal” on the lines of existing processes in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.

Launched on Nov 11 by Jamia Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung, the programme began with a minute’s silence to honour the late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika and listened to his legendary song, “Buku hom hom kore”. The workshop was organized by Sanjoy Hazarika of Jamia’s Centre for
North East Studies under the auspices of its Sikkim Studies Programme with collaboration from the National Centre for Peoples Action and Disaster Preparedness in Ahmedabad of Rajendra and Rupal Desai. Presentations were made by GC Khanal, joint director, Department of Land Revenue and Disaster Preparedness, Biswajit Sarma, head, Centre for Disaster Preparedness, Assam, TP Khaund, Principal adviser to the Mizoram Chief minister, PP Shrivastav, member, North Eastern Council, Suhel Akhtar, Manipur’s principal secretary for disaster preparedness, and Pankaj Jain, government of Meghalaya as well as Jemino Mawthoh of the Department of Continuing Education at NEHU.


Family planning initiatives by Boat Clinic Teams

 

 Barpeta II

The regular boat health camp conducted by the Barpeta Boat Clinic- Unit II heath team was arranged in a tent about one and a half kilometers away from Ramapara Ghat under Sub centre Ramapara Pathar. The people from nearby villages- Pachim Ramapara, Ramapara Pathar and Ramapara pam were present. Mostly agriculturists, the inhabitants are seldom literate with few or no locality schools. Most have large families, often impoverished and malnourished. The health team has been trying to generate awareness on the need to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation to improve and promote good health and practice family planning to reduce family sizes. Counselling couples on family planning is a challenge in these areas dominated by communities whose religion rohibits family planning. After regular motivation, on 15th October, a health camp beneficiary with three children volunteered for IUCD insertion which for the first time performed inside the Boat Clinic by the medical officer   assisted by the subcentre ANM,  Majeda Parbin. The beneficiary’s husband supported the initiative as he felt the need to limit the family. This is the first IUCD -380 A insertion in Boat by Boat Clinic, unit-2.

Dhemaji

An IUCD insertion (Copper –T) camp as part of family planning initiative was organised by the Dhemaji  Boat Clinic  at Mesaki Sub- Centre on 24th September 2011 .As it was the first such camp, newly trained Doctors Dr Deep Prakash Paul and Dr Biswajit Talukder were guided by the Senior Medical Officer cum in charge Jonai Block PHC Dr Kishor Kaman. 16 women of child bearing age from Koilawali , Boria and Mesaki area were present at the camp for Copper-T insertion . The Review Meeting of District Health Society, Dhemaji was held on 19 th of September, chaired by Deputy Commisioner Mr M S Manivannan. The information about the IUCD camp to be organised  by Boat Clinic  at Mesaki  Sub- Centre was given by the District Program Officer  of Boat Clinic at the Review meeting for which  Joint Director Health Services  cum Member Secretary   Dr Juaharlal Pegu  assured all possible help from the District Health Society.

IUCD insertion

An IUCD insertion camp was organized by the Barpeta Unit II Boat Clinic at Jaharnar Ghola camp on 22nd November2011. At the previous camp the District Programme officer (DPO) had counselled the beneficiary about the benefits of family planning and the convenience of an IUCD insertion at the Boat Clinic. The area Asha accordingly informed the Community worker and the DPO a day before about women willing to insert IUCD and to make insertion preparation in the boat. Accordingly preparations were made, the DPO met the beneficiaries and counselled them again, informing them about symptoms and some possible temporary problems after the insertion.  Absolute privacy was maintained to respect the sentiments of the beneficiaries and their husbands.  Two women were successfully   inserted IUCD.

Report Release, Photo exhibition and Film Screening

Anant Patwardhan, renowned film maker and activist, calls for the repeal of AFSPA as Hazarika and Jahnu Barua, eminent film director, listens.

A series of C-NES events were held across New Delhi,  Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Guwahati and Kohima   through September to October 2011 with the objective  to showcase the Research Report, Film (A Measure of Impunity) and a  Photo Exhibition, conducted by C-nes and supported by the German  Heinrich Boll Foundation(HBF), under the project titled ‘Reviewing the impact of conflict on women in Assam and Nagaland’ and bring it to the attention of a wider audience, in the process,  generating awareness, understanding and discussion about the plight, as well as, the courage of the women in these two states of North-east India. The Event, which was sponsored by the Heinrich Boll Foundation of Germany, now moves to Kolkata (29 Sept to 1 October) because traveling to Mumbai (Nov 15-16), Guwahati (Oct 23-24) and Kohima (Oct 29-30). The report‘Bearing Witness’ was first launched at New Delhi on September 7, 2011 where the former Union Home Secretary, GK Pillai released the report. Dr. G. Thiruvasagam, Vice Chancellor of Madras University released the Report in Chennai on on Sept 23  2011. Noted film maker and activist Anant Patwardhan launched the report to an attentive and packed hall on October 15 at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, in the presence of noted film director Jahnu Barua and prominent media specialists and human rights campaigners. The former Governor of Nagaland, Mr. Shyamal Datta, launched the Report  in Kolkata o Octber 29th,2011 at the Seagull Centre for Arts, describing it as a document that had ‘opened his eyes’ to the nature of the crisis.

Prof. AC Bhagwati, noted anthropologist and former Vice Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University in Arunachal Pradesh releasing the report at Guwahati

 

Releasing the report at Guwahati, Prof. AC Bhagwati, noted anthropologist and former Vice Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University in Arunachal Pradesh, remarked that the Report had not just brought out the crisis before women in the region but also demonstrated that “textual work” among academics and scholars had failed to focus on such critical questions at the North-east launch on 23rd October, 2011 at Guwahati’s ITA conference hall, Machkhowa.. At Kohima the programme was inaugurated on October 28th where Ms Sano Vamuzo, heading the Nagaland women’s commission was the chief guest.


A section of the gathering at the report release function at Guwahati

 

Pollution Report by C-NES

Sanjoy Hazarika speaking to journalists at the press conference on air pollution at Guwahati Press Club. At right is Ms. Keteki Bardalai, Executive Director, Foundation for Social Transformation.

A detailed report by C-NES on the pollution levels surveyed in several major hubs of Guwahati and Shillong was released on October 22nd, 2011 at the Guwahati Press Club at a crowded press conference. Highlighting several points, C-NES Managing Trustee Sanjoy Hazarika said that apart from lax implementation of pollution control laws, the problem was aggravated by the lack of responsibility among city residents. For example, the surveys turned up the fact that 70 percent of all vehicle owners in Guwahati do not get their vehicles tested either on a regular basis or at all.

“These are basic human rights, just as much as there are political rights — the right to clean air and clean water,” said Mr. Hazarika in the course of an energetic discussion with journalists. “But there is also a questino of personal responsibility and choice, which we need to make correctly every day instead of blaming the govenment or one department blaming another.” A detailed power point presentation was made by Bhaskar Saud, who led the research in the programme, which was funded by the Foundation for Social Transformation.

Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs)  Training

Demonstration on usage of using various tools used in delivery by Namita Baruah, ANM (left)

A capacity building training on safe delivery and reproductive health for the first batch of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) was organized from 19th to 24th September 2011 at the concerned BPHCs in Lakimpur and Sonitpur Districts. The training participated by 18 TBAs from 16 island villages of Nowboicha in Lakhimpur and Bihoguri in Sonitpur districts, was held in association with the District Health Societies.

In Lakhimpur 8 TBAs attended the six day training at Nowboich BPHC  in the first batch, the rest (another 10) was trained from  Bihpuria BPHC, dates for which have not been finalized yet. The trainers comprised of Dr. Abdul Chandra Derio, SDM &HO, Ranu Hazarika, GNM and  Biroja Prabha Mandal, ANM. In Sonitpur, the training was organized at the Bihoguri BPHC, where   7 TBAs participated and a similar training for the next batch to start from 26th September 2011 will have the remaining the 11 attending . The resource persons for the training were Dr.B. Doley, SDM & HO, Dipika Devi, GNM, and Namita Baruah,ANM.

Chandana Bora, State Coordinator for PFI supported project along with the DPO, Sonitpur Boat Clinic, Mousumi Duwarah also participated in the training at Sonitpur and interacted with the TBAs as well as the resource persons of the training.

Unicef Team at Lowkiali sapori

A team from UNICEF was in Dibrugarh to document the boat clinic activities as one of the best practices of the state on 3rd August 2011. The health team accompanied by the visitors started journey at 7 am from Maijan ghat. The Unicef team was led by Dr. Sachin Gupte, the Health Officer at Unicef, Guwahati. The team started the camp after pitching the tents. A large crowd had already gathered for the health camp. The camp continued for four hours from 10:30 am and 171 people were registered for general check up, 9 children were immunized, 11 ante natal check ups were conducted during the day.

 

Common Review Mission team at Dhubri

Dr.Rakesh interacting with the ANMs

The fifth Common Review Mission (CRM) under NRHM visited Dhubri on November 11, 2011. The team led by Dr Rakesh Kumar (IAS), Director Non Communicable Disease, MOHFW, GOI included Dr Suchitra Lisam, Sr Consultant, National Health System Resource Centre ( NHSRC) Dr A. Reghu, Assistant Advisor, AYUSH. The district Community Mobiliser and District Media Expert of NRHM were also on board SB Rustam. Ashok Rao, Programme Manager, Sanjay Sharma, Associate Progrmme Manager and the Dhubri Unit I Boat Clinic team were present.

Discussion with CRM team along with Dr.P.N.Bora

The CRM team accompanied by the C-NES members boarded the Boat Clinic and started journey to Boldiar Alga North for the scheduled health camp. On reaching the char the team began interacting with the villagers , Teachers, ASHAs. The CRM team mentioned that the village needed two more ASHAs and the population of 3200 was difficult for a single ASHA to manage. They also had an interaction with the members of Village Health and Sanitation Committee (VHSC) which included the AWW, ASHA, Ward Member, School teacher and other general members. The village Head man was not present as he belonged to the nearby village. They were asked about the role of the VHSC. They replied that they have to organise Village health and Sanitation Day every Wednesday and speak to the mothers and the villagers about nutrition to PWs, RI and matters related to development of health of the community. Dr Rakesh Kumar suggested the AWW to advocate and implement on nutritional supplement to the PWs. Ashok Rao highlighted on the need for Solar ILR, MOs, and solar lighting on the boats to which Dr Kumar said that he would take this in the district meeting and also at the state level.

On the visitors book Dr Rakesh Kumar wrote that he was  most impressed by the efficiency and quality of RCH services being provided by the Boat Clinic “ SB Rustam”.  He  further stressed on supplementary nutrition, counselling for family planning services and hygiene issues .

Awareness camp at Bongaigaon

 

Along with the routine camp a special awareness camp on immunization and family planning was organized on immunization and family planning at Bongaigaon’s Kabaitary on 24th September, 2011. The team was accompanied by the BPM (Block Program manager) NRHM and BEE (Block Extension Educator) from Boitamari BPHC as resource persons along with one ASHA facilitator and two ASHA workers from neighboring villages.  The purpose of the camp was to make people understand the importance of vaccination as most community members were reluctant to provide vaccines to their children due to prevailing superstitions and ignorance. After a brief introduction by the DPO the BPM started the meeting wherein he spoke about the importance of Immunization of the child within 12 months to prevent them falling victim to various diseases. The BEE imparted education on family planning and the various methods to be adopted by couples which the government has provided free of cost through various health institutions. The MO appealed to the people to cooperate with the health team and bring the children for timely vaccination of children

 

Boat Clinic Task Force Report

The report of the Task Force on development processes for Himalayan Hill States set up by the Planning Commission, Government of India, and which was handed over to the Planning Commission in December 2010 talks of the importance of the Boat Clinics initiative. The premier agency mandated to conduct the study was the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, based near Nainital, Uttarakhand. The Report of the Task Force can be accessed at Planningcommission.nic.in/aboutus/taskforce/task_hill1009.pdf

Given the repercussions of the major earthquake recently in Sikkim, the report is extremely relevant as it has specific recommendation on many issues including earthquakes in this highly seismic zone, classified as Zone Five or the most vulnerable of all parts of India to tremors. C-NES Managing Trustee Sanjoy Hazarika was a member of the Task Force.

 

 

Awareness camp at Nalbari

An awareness camp was conduced on RNTCP at Garighat on 10th August, 2011. RNTCP members from Nalbari – Dr. Kalish Deka (District Programme Officer, Nalbari), Grindhra Chakraborty (BCG Technician, Nalbari), Hiren Kalita ( Labrotory Technician, Nalbari), Mazammil Haque ( STS, Mukalmua), Dipak Barman ( STLS, Mukalmua), Sahabuddin Ahmed ( TB Health Visitor) and Mainul Haque ( LT, Mukalmua) accompanied the team. ASHA  Margina Begum was  present. About 150 people attended the camp.  Leaflets on TB were distributed.  Dr.Kalish Deka (DPO, RNTCP) spoke about the symptoms of TB – that  if a man suffered from cough for two weeks  he must go for  examination in DOTs laboratory .In some cases it may be referred to  relevant centres after the investigation of Medical Officer. The referred cases of Boat Clinic Nalbari must go to the Bhangnamari DOTs centre for investigation. All categories of investigation were totally free of cost. If any positive cases came out, DOTs centre gave them 6 to 8 month courses of medicine which was totally free of cost. He requests all to visit DOTs centre without fail if they suffered continuous cough.

 

SBI supports C-NES

Mr A Krishna Kumar, Managing Director, SBI handing over the car keys to Sanjoy Hazarika

State Bank of India on Monday extended its corporate social responsibility
arm to C-NES by donating a multi utility vehicle (Mahindra Bolero). Handing over the vehicle to Mr Sanjoy Hazarika, Managing Trustee, C-NES, at an official function held on 29th November, 2011 at the Banks headquarters  in Guwahati, Mr A. Krishna Kumar,  Managing Director , SBI Corporate Centre, Mumbai, present on the occasion along with a number of senior SBI officials,  lauded the efforts of the C-nes Boat Clinic health initiatives adding that the Boat Clinics were providing yeoman’s service to marginalized river island communities.

Community Radio Station at Dibrugarh

The freshly recruited community reporters for the CR station

A new radio station — Brahmaputra Community Radio Station (BCRS), on the banks of the Brahmaputra – is being set up by C-NES in collaboration with UNICEF, Assam at Maijan ghat, Dibrugarh as part of an effort to democratized mass media, with reporters and writers from communities of the area. Community radio across the world is popularly defined as a “radio for the people, of the people and by the people”.

A BCRS stakeholders meeting was organized  on November 30th, 2011 at the BSRS office , Dibrugarh .The meeting which was originally planned to mark inauguration of BCRS and its introduction to scholars, intelligentsia, professionals, business sector, media and government  circles of Dibrugarh was quickly converted into a moving memorial meeting and stakeholders discussion, to remember the brilliant contributions of cultural genius and icon Dr Bhupen Hazarika and writer-thinker Jyanpith awardee , Dr Indira Goswami, popularly known as Mamoni Raisom who had expired only the previous day, attended by Unicef Chief Field Office, Assam, Ms Jeroo Master, eminent writer- columnist Sanjoy Hazarika, the Managing Trustee C-NES, academics, members from the local community and BCRS management committee members.

 

Sanjoy Hazarika speaks at international conference

Sanjoy Hazarika was invited to speak at the inauguration of an international conference on the North-east followed by the screening of his film, ‘A Measure of Impunity,’ on 15th December 2011 at the University of Göttingen, Germany.  He participated in the workshop titled Performing Identity: Ethnicity and Ethnonationalism in the South-east Asian Borderland region of North-east India to be organised in Göttingen from the 15th to the 17th December 2011. The workshop was organised by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology in co-operation with the Centre for Modern Indian Studies
at the University of Göttingen, and co-ordinated by the Competence Network on ‘Dynamics of Religion in SE Asia’ at the University of Göttingen. Other prominent speakers are Prof. Sanjib Baruah of Bard College, US, Prof. Erik de Maaker of Linden University, the Netherlands, the Swedish anthropologist Bengt G. Karlsson and Willem van Schendel also of the Netherlands, one of the most prominent scholars and writers on issues relating to Asian borderlands.

 

Kalyani Club Awards

The award giving function for the five Best Kalyani Health Clubs in Assam which was held at Doordarshan Kendra  Guwahati on 29th November 2011 was telecast on  5th December, 2011. This is the second award function, the first was held on 25th  February 2011 where seven  clubs were awarded . C-NES  has been the state representative of Population Foundation of India (PFI), in the PFI – Kalyani Doordarshan programme in Assam. Kalyani, a popular health series in India, is a joint initiative of the Development Communication Division, Doordarshan and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.  PFI and Kalyani have been working together for the overall goal of dissemination of information. One of the major components of the programme is to conduct competition among the Kalyani Health Club on family planning issues.

 

Awareness session at Goalpara

The gathering at the awareness session

An awareness camp was organized at Goalpara’s  Kistomoni Char under the Lakhipur BPHC in the village   L.P. School on 22nd November 2011. The meeting commenced with electing a president for the program from amongst the community to encourage popular participation in the programme. An elderly villager Ajahar Ali, an active community member was selected. A brief introduction to IMR, MMR, (specially critical for a state like Assam which as the highest MMR in the country at 390 per 100000 live births) TFR, FP and prevention of common diseases. was given by the  pharmacist. The  DPO Hingulas Khakhalary conducted a feedback session and spoke about the importance of education and putting children to school since illiteracy is widespread here in the nearly three hour long meeting. Over 125  people attended the program. As the program was organized in the school the Boat Clinic team organized games for the school children for their entertainment.

Cleft lips corrected under operation smile

Before and after the surgery

The guardian of a  two and half year old girl  with cleft lip from Sonitpur districts Lanke char was motivated by the districts  Boat Clinic health team led by the DPO to get the child operated under   the corrective surgery “Operation Smile” along with details and objectives of the schemes. Accordingly the DPO contacted the district administrations and requested help for the child. The screening test was done in September 2011 at Bihaguri PHC and the child was sent to Guwahati on 9th Oct 11 where she was successfully operated upon.

Capacity Building training for ASHAs and ANMs

The Ashas and ANMs with Moushumi Borah, DPO Sonitpur, Chandana Bora, State Coordinator for PFI and Bonobithi Das Family Planning counsellor

A two day capacity building training for 11ASHAs and 2 ANMs of Sonitpur Boat Clinic on family planning and reproductive health was organized by C-NES at Bihoguri BPHC on 14th and 15th December 2011. The objective of the training was to impart clear concepts on family planning methods involved, effective counselling skills for better community response and to make the participants more confident in community discussions and dealing with challenging topics.

The training was  supported by the District Health Society (DSY) Sonitpur including providing resource persons, venue and  accommodation for the outstation ASHAs. At the end of the training the newly recruited ASHAs were provided free uniforms, bicycles and Identity cards by Mr. Porag Saikia, DPM,Sonitpur and Mr Ruprekha Khatonia, BPM, Bihoguri BPHC.

Training on neonatal care for Medical Officers

A  two day training programme on  Nawajaat Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram(NSSK) for C-NES’ Boat Clinic Medical Officers  was held on 29th and 30th November 2011 at the District Training Centre of Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh. The training supported by UNICEF, in collaboration with District Health Society and with Dr B Barooah and Dr D Sahu as facilitators, was held to offer basic knowledge of neonatal resuscitation and newborn care to Boat Clinic doctors across 13 districts of Assam. The basic aim of the programme was to provide essential knowledge to doctors so that they can offer optimum attention to newborns to prevent complication of infection, birth asphyxia, complications related to premature birth and low birth-weight babies thereby reducing infant mortality rate. Most of the neonatal deaths can be prevented with simple, cost-effective solutions that do not depend on highly trained provider or sophisticated equipment. Such trainings are crucial for a state like Assam with a high infant mortality rate at 67 per 1000 live births and an equally high maternal mortality rate (390 per 10,00,00).

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