A two and a half day C-NES Annual Review Meeting was organized at the world heritage site of Kaziranga Wild Life Sanctuary in Assam, along the Brahmaputra in an equally picturesque Wild Grass Resort, Kaziranga from 29th February to 2nd March 2012. Over 70 C-NES staff comprising of Medical Officers, District Programme Officers from the 15 Boat Clinic Units along with the organizations education, family planning , community radio team and members from the Regional Office, Guwahati attended the Meeting led by the Managing Trustee, Mr. Sanjoy Hazarika and the newly appointed CEO of C-NES, Dr Dipankar Das. Eminent Trustees of the organization including Dr VA Pai Panandiker, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr Jayanta Madhab, Economist, Mr GK Pillai, former Union Home Secretary, Mr MP Bezbaruah, former Union Tourism Secretary, Ms Preeti Gill, editor, Zubaan and Mr Niketu Iralu, social activist from Nagaland were present. The resource persons for the Meeting included Ms Jeroo Master, Chief, Field Office and Dr PN Borah, State Progarmme Manager, NRHM, Assam.
Preceding this meet the Board of Trustees ,viz., Dr Jayanta Madhab, Economist Shri M. P. Bezbaruah, ex Secretary ( tourism) GOI Shri G. K. Pillai ex Secretary(Home), GOI along with Shri Sanjoy Hazarika, Managing Trustee and Dr Dipankar Das, CEO, C-NES undertook a field trip on the boat clinic on 28th Feb ’12 from Oakland Ghat to Duisuti Sapari to oversee the working of the boat clinic on the health services being given and also to observe the working of the Bridge School in the same sapori. Citing certain shortcomings on the working of the boat clinic and the school it was clarified that these will be sorted out by working out an uniform code of conduct for enhancing the present services. The same group were earlier on 27th Feb evening with other eminent intellectuals and teachers from Dibrugarh University and officials from the Tea Board, given a presention on the preparation being made including performances by the artistes for the launching of the Brahmaputra Community Radio Station. The Chairman, Dr Pai Panandikar along with Shri Ashok Rao, Prog. Manager C-NES had also visited CRS and interacted with the Coordinator and staffs after his arrival at Dibrugarh on 28th Feb ’12
“Time has come for the people of the North East to take things in their hands’ said Mr Pillai, delivering the special address on : Perspective of the region and India : views and vision from Delhi at the meet adding further that the region must learn to “solve its own problem and not expect Delhi to come and solve it”. People have to decide for themselves, he said and that the 10% allocation the region is entitled to now will not last for too long. People from the region therefore, should keep pace and take advantages as they come, as global citizens. He said that issue such as misgovernance in the grass root level common in the region was because at the lowest level there are not to many trainings conducted. Trainings for Block Development officers, clerks, constables are vital in order to make them more responsive on the field like done by the Govt. of Kerala at a designated institute specially designed for imparting such trainings. A healthy interaction amongst various stake holder Departments of the Government could also resolve major hurdles while implementing developmental activities at village level.“I cannot imagine an India without North East India” he concluded revealing his obvious fondness for the region.The session co-chaired by Dr Jayanta Madhab, Life Trustee and Shri Niketu Iralu, Social Activist and Trustee generated much enthusiasm as the talks revolved with the various avenues in the employment world with focus and opportunities in the North East.
Earlier the welcome address was delivered by Dr Das and the introductory session saw the Trustees being felicitated with colorful ethnic gamochas (towels) and wooden rhinos as mementoes- the latter symbolic of the meeting venue at Kaziranga which is famous for its one horned rhino.
The opening remarks where made by the Managing Trustee, Mr Hazarika who said that he was happy to have everyone together “I think of how we started 12 years ago and how slowly over the years we have worked in different fields .We had a staff of 4 then, now we are over 250, from one district (Dibrugarh) we are now in 13 districts. We have to be clear that our goal and mission is constantly to reach the poor and unreached. We have to keep our minds open- to each other and to the issues around us”, adding further that “You should think of yourself as extremely privileged as people with a special calling, to served the needy and the unreached”.
The evening session was based on issues from the field “what do the people we serve and reach really care for” and addressed by a panel of speakers, viz. Mr Abdul Kalam, DPO Morigaon, Mr Mehboob Hazarika, DPO, Dhubri I, Ms Moushimi Duarah, DPO, Sonitpur, Mr Amrit Borah, DPO Dibrugarh, Mr Bhaskar Bhuyan, BRCS, Dr B. Borah, MO ,Dibrugarh, and from the PMU team of Dr Dipankar Das, Mr Ashok Rao and Mr Manik Chandra Boruah. This session chaired by Mr Sanjoy Hazarika focused on the practical experiences encountered during the boat clinic functioning in Chars/saporis.
Dr Pai Panandiker, Chairman of the Trust in his speech emphasized on the need for reaching out to the community and creating bondage for a better interaction and participation with reference to his home state of Goa having a better statistics on MMR and IMR. He spoke about the importance of HEE (health, education and Employment) as a major tool for development and encouraged C-NES to contribute within its own resource ensuring that every efforts do not go to waste. “We as Trustees will ensure that you get all possible help. Our main effort should be to enable you to have every capability to be able to offer the best you have to the people you serve” Trustees Dr Madhab, Mr Bezbaruah, Ms Preeti Gill and Mr Iralu also appreciated the services provided by the C-NES team assuring of all possible support .Mr Ashok Rao Programme Manager thanked the trustees and the staff for attending the meet. The evening was toasted with the rendering of Bihu Dance and Jhumur by Traditional artistes of the locality arranged by the Resort management.
The second day dawned early with an elephant safari for the Trustees and participants through the sanctuary for viewing the famed one horn Rhinoceros, Wild Buffaloes, Hogs, herds of deer, migratory birds and other wild habitats of Kaziranga. A lively cricket tournament between 4 teams was organized and was vehemently supported and rejoiced by all. The afternoon session started with a lecture presentation by Dr P. N. Bora, State Prog. Manager, NRHM, GOA who highlighted the achievements gained by the Dept. of health on NRHM activities and also focused on the relevant issues and targets set for NRHM in Assam besides advising the audience on means to tackle shortcomings for improving both MMR and IMR and other vital health parameters.
The evening session was addressed by all the 15 DPOs and assisted by their MOs in which the District profile and its critical and relevant issues following their camp experience was put forth. Certain common issues were stressed mainly:
i) shifting of the populace along with the change of topography correlating with the changing water level hinders boat clinic operation
ii) lack of education creating problem in understanding health messages and therefore awareness which fails to change the community perception towards health.
iii) Dubious activities of certain staffs thereby marring smooth operation of clinics
iv) Lack of training amongst ASHAs hindering proper counseling and vacancy of ASHA in certain areas following procedural delay for appointment.
v) Screening of genuine sick patients not adapt and thereby over burdening undue work.
vi) Preference for liquid form of medicines only amongst the targeted community and as such hampering proper compliance of suggested dosage as advised
vii) System for referring patients and usage of referral boats where in times of actual need is lacking guidance.
viii) Non payment of incentives through cheques to certain sections from Governments schemes due to lack of Banking facilities.
ix) Lack of interest by Government Deptts for implementing developmental activities
in Char / Sapories
x) Unscrupulous elements within the populace creating demoralizing effects and thereby demotivating health activities
xi) Non formation of Village health and sanitation committee in Char/Sapori and thereby poor participation of Village elders and leaders especially males in this predominantly male driven society of the Char/sapories.
The presentation on the Brahmaputra Community Radio Center by Sri Bhaskar Bhuyan focused on the innovative steps and programmes devised in initiating an agenda for the Center awaiting final licensing for broadcasting within a short span . The Education programme aided by UNICEF in the Char/sapori was addressed by Sri Manik Baruah, Associate Programme Manager and Sri Rajib Bora, Dist Education Coordinator, Lakhimpur highligting on the achievements, lacunae and future plans and means for improvement. The Population Foundation of India (PFI) project was presented by Ms Chandana Bora, State FP Counsellor on their activities in the 5 implementing districts and plans for up scaling in the near future
The late evening session was an interesting presentation by Ms Jeroo Master, Chief, UNICEF, Assam where facts and figures of the changing trend in Sex ratio, literacy rates, and other relevant vital health parameters within the different NE states was highlighted raising many an unexplained issues and mind boggling topic for the intellectual to debate and resolve.
An Interesting Quiz Competition amongst 4 teams with Mr Hazarika as the Quiz Master made many minds tickle centered around interesting topics related mainly to the NE Region The day ended with a cultural programme rendered by the staffs of C-NES with special performances by Mr Hazarika and Dr Dipankar Das to the accompaniment of the guitar and keyboard by Mr Ashok Rao, Prog. manager and Dr Aoron Momin, MO Jorhat
On the last day the session started with an encouraging and inspiring address by Mr M. P. Bezbaruah, Trustees who deliberated upon his observations while undertaking a visit to the Char in one of the boat clinic and bridge school and encouraged all for their zeal and devotion interspersing in between his experience as an administrative officer in Assam during his younger days. The meet ended with a wrap-up session where all administrative and financial issues, including queries raised by the different district teams and their resolving by Mr S. Hazarika, MT and Dr Dipankar Das CEO with a final word of advice from Dr Jayanta Madhab, Life Trustee. Following lunch all the participants disbursed for their different locations on 2nd March 2012
The review meeting concluded on 2nd March after a break out session, presentation of accounting procedure by Accounts Manger Faizul Haque and summing up by the MT and the CEO, Dr Dipankar Das.