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By the Brahmaputra (Vol: 63, January – March 2024)

Sanjoy Hazarika Addresses New ACS Officers at Assam Administration Staff College

Guwahati, April 8, 2024: Sanjoy Hazarika, Managing Trustee, spoke to 83 new Assam Civil Services (ACS) officers at their Foundation Course at Assam Administration Staff College. He covered key topics such as security, civil rights, the role of NGOs, duties of civil servants, border issues, and integrating the North Eastern Region with the rest of India. The session concluded with an engaging discussion, providing valuable insights for the new officers.



IndiGo Explores CSR Partnership with C-NES

IndiGo Explores CSR Partnership with C-NES

Guwahati, May 20, 2024 – Raju Sharma, Director and Head of CSR at IndiGo, visited the Regional Office of the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES) for an interactive session on potential partnerships. The session included C-NES PMU members such as Managing Trustee Sanjoy Hazarika, Communications Officer Bhaswati Goswami, and Assistant Programme Officer Hinna Barman.

Mr. Sharma highlighted IndiGo’s CSR initiative, which focuses on four thematic areas: Children, Education, Women Empowerment, and Heritage Conservation. He emphasized the importance of addressing gender-based violence in Northeast states and adopting a holistic approach to improving nutrition and health for underprivileged children. This includes regular access to safe, hygienic, and nutritious food through mid-day meals and providing quality education with teaching and learning materials in urban slums, aiming to transform these children into educated, confident, and responsible individuals.


Health Camp Visit by Govind Madhab Murari, Azim Premji University

Health Camp Visit by Govind Madhab Murari, Azim Premji University

On February 16, 2024, Govind Madhab Murari, Consultant at the Department of Public Health, Azim Premji University, visited a health camp conducted by the Kamrup Boat Clinic unit. He was accompanied by Hinna Barman, Associate Programme Manager, and Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer.

Mr. Murari was briefed on the inception of the Boat Clinics outreach program, supported by the National Health Mission (NHM) since 2008, which has expanded to 15 units. After meeting the health team and a brief interactive session, they reached the campsite. Community workers mobilized the local population and delivered an awareness talk on the importance of family planning. Beneficiaries were informed about necessary vaccines during the first trimester and the importance of iron and folic acid tablets for maternal and child health. The camp conducted approximately 52 general health check-ups, 6 antenatal care (ANC) sessions, and 5 postnatal care (PNC) sessions.

The following day, February 17, Mr. Murari interacted with Managing Trustee Sanjoy Hazarika, Dr. Milan Barooah, Special Adviser, Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer, and Hinna Barman, Associate Programme Manager, at the C-NES Regional Office. He shared insights about the work being undertaken by the Department of Public Health at Azim Premji University, focusing primarily on health and education systems.


Managing Trustee Sanjoy Hazarika was invited as the guest speaker for the inaugural Rajabala Das Annual Lecture, organized by Handique Girls College on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2024. His speech, titled “Text and Context: Women, Gender, and Safe Spaces in Assam and the NE Region,” highlighted the life and contributions of Rajabala Das and the ongoing challenges faced by women.

“We are here to honour not just the memory of the founder of an institution but a person who lived an exceptional life. I will take a little time to reflect on her life and work for without her initiative and struggle, none of us would be sitting here today. Nor would I be speaking to you. I also want to use these reflections as an opportunity to dive into the issues which face us today both in a broader sense and in specifics.

Aditi Chowdhury’s finely crafted translation of Rajabala Das’ autobiography Tini Kuri Doh Bosoror Smriti paints a clear picture of the challenges and hurdles faced by young women and professional women. The latter were very few in those days and often confronted family opposition for wanting to study and work.  It was a very starkly unequal and different world at the time. And it is all the more important for us to take note of since our lives and the opportunities before us of education, employment and careers enable us to follow different trajectories, follow our hearts.  All of us may not be wealthy but you do not need riches to be privileged. The fact that we are privileged lies in that we have access to education and the opportunities that life offers while many do not.  So let us never take that privilege for granted or casually for there are many who are still deprived of it or don’t have access”.

In the 1930s, women in Britain had the right to vote but the playing field was far from equal: as Diana Souhami wrote in the Guardian some time back: I quote – “To have legislation is not at all the same as to have the state of affairs that the legislation claims to achieve. It is easier to campaign for tangible objectives, such as the vote, than to fight to eradicate the prejudice underpinning the initial denial. There is tokenism to equality legislation if the society implementing it has no real commitment to equality.”

The writer continued: “Women’s wages were meager compared with those of men. The civil service, the education sector and nursing all operated a “marriage bar”, which meant women had to resign when they married.”

Things have changed exceptionally since those times, there and here and everywhere but in some ways they remain the same.”

 


Media Coverage:

On January 29, 2024, independent journalist and science writer Meenakshi J accompanied the Morigaon Boat Clinic to a health camp at Chutiya Gaon island village, under Kathoni Char PHC of Lahorighat Block PHC. The village, home to about 54 households and nearly 300 residents, saw active participation from local ASHA worker Rehena Begum during the camp.

Meenakshi J, whose work has been featured in prominent publications like The New York Times, Nature Medicine, The British Medical Journal, BBC, The Guardian, National Geographic, and The New Indian Express, focused her story on “The Impact of Climate Change on Infant and Maternal Mortality and Healthcare in the Flood-Prone Areas of Assam: Solutions and Challenges, with a Focus on Women Health Care Workers.” This report is part of a cross-border collaboration, with the second part being reported from Pakistan.

For an authentic portrayal, Meenakshi J accompanied an ASHA worker to experience her daily routine with expectant women. The comprehensive piece on the compounded maternal health crisis due to climate change in flood-prone areas of India and Pakistan was published and is now live on India Blooms and Tribal News Network.

Read the full story here:

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Digital Maternal Health Initiative e-SAATHI Launched in Jorhat, Assam

e-SAATHI Launched in Dibrugarh District to Enhance Maternal Health Services

Dibrugarh, February 8, 2024 – The e-SAATHI digital maternal health initiative was launched in Dibrugarh district, covering 133 facilities through an online event conducted from the District Commissioner’s Office. The launch was attended by DC Vikram Kairi, Additional District Commissioner Sanghamitra Baruah, Joint Director of Health Services Dr. Saurav Kumar Gogoi, and district and block officials. Dr. Milan Barooah, Special Advisor (C-NES), and the e-SAATHI team led by Namrata Goswami were also present.

Approximately 200 healthcare providers, including ASHAs, ANMs, GNMs, Medical Officers, and Community Health Officers, participated via online link. Dr. Milan Barooah and Ms. Namrata Goswami outlined the objectives and implementation of the project, which aims to improve maternal health services in remote areas. The DC welcomed the initiative, emphasizing its potential to significantly enhance support at the sub-district and block levels.

e-SAATHI Launched in Kamrup Rural District to Improve Maternal Health

Kamrup Rural, February 8, 2024 – The e-SAATHI digital maternal health initiative was launched at Tolaram Bafna Civil Hospital. The event was attended by Sanjoy Hazarika, Managing Trustee of C-NES, Additional District Commissioner Kamal Baruah, Joint Director of Health Services Dr. Mahitus Benarjee, and Hospital Superintendent Dr. Birendra Narayan Sharma, among others.

ADC Kamal Baruah praised the initiative as a crucial step towards enhancing maternal and child healthcare. Dr. Birendra Narayan Sharma expressed hopes for the program’s successful implementation in Kamrup District. The e-SAATHI team demonstrated the onboarding process via WhatsApp, followed by a brief discussion.

e-SAATHI Launched at Kamrup Boat Clinic in Nayapara

e-SAATHI Launched at Kamrup Boat Clinic in Nayapara

Kamrup, April 9, 2024 – The e-SAATHI team, including Dr. Jitendar Nagpal from Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, and Dr. Sowmya Ramesh, Ashita Munjral, and Namrata Goswami from Population Council Consulting Pvt. Ltd., visited the Kamrup boat clinic for a launch event at the island village of Nayapara during a regular health camp.

Hinna Barman, Assistant Program Manager at C-NES, introduced both teams. Namrata Goswami, State Program Manager (PCC), explained the e-SAATHI project to participants, including villagers, ASHA workers, and Boat Clinic staff. A demonstration of the e-SAATHI chat was also provided.

Training on Dipstick Survey Held at Bosco Reachout Guwahati

Training on Dipstick Survey Held at Bosco Reachout Guwahati

Guwahati, April 10, 2024 – A training session on the Dipstick Survey was conducted at Bosco Reachout Guwahati, led by Dr. Jitendar Nagpal from Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, along with Dr. Sowmya Ramesh, Ashita Munjral, and Namrata Goswami from Population Council Consulting Pvt. Ltd. The training was attended by field executives and District Program Managers from Kamrup, Jorhat, and Dibrugarh.

Following the session, participants tested the dipstick survey questionnaire with six women from the Women Ambassador Forum in the Uzanbazar slum community to incorporate their feedback.

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From the field:


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A newborn being weighed at a health camp conducted by the South Salmara Mankachar Boat Clinic in Dewaneralga.

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Beneficiaries after a health and immunization camp at Khankhuwa Charpara village conducted by the Goalpara Boat Clinic
Beneficiaries after a health and immunization camp at Khankhuwa Charpara village conducted by the Goalpara Boat Clinic

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The Morigaon Boat Clinic team on way to a camp at Barkur char on a misty January morning
The Morigaon Boat Clinic team on way to a camp at Barkur char on a misty January morning

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District Programme Officer Shyamjit Pashi, Morigaon Boat Clinic speaks to beneficiaries of a health camp at  Chutiya gaon

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Boat baby: Dibrugarh Boat Clinic Team Assists in Safe Delivery at Bhoisiali Island Village

Dibrugarh, January 20, 2024: The Dibrugarh Boat Clinic team demonstrated their dedication to rural healthcare by aiding a beneficiary in delivering her child safely at Bhoisiali Island Village on January 20, 2024.

Seema Yadav, the new mother, and her baby boy were reported to be in stable and healthy condition following the successful delivery. The photographs captured moments of the health team recording the infant’s birth weight, highlighting their attentive care during the process.

This event underscores the vital role of the Boat Clinic in providing essential medical assistance to remote communities, ensuring positive maternal and child health outcomes.

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NHM Assam Conducts Workshop on NCD Screening and Portal for Mobile Medical Units

Guwahati, January 20, 2024: The National Health Mission (NHM), Assam, organized a review and orientation workshop on comprehensive screening and the national Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Portal for Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) on January 20th in Guwahati.

Representatives from all 15 units across the 13 boat clinic districts participated in the workshop. Programme Manager Ashok Rao and Associate Programme Manager Hinna Barman, representing the C-NES regional office, were also present.

The workshop aimed to enhance the capacity of MMU teams in conducting comprehensive screenings and utilizing the national NCD Portal effectively. It served as a platform for sharing best practices, addressing challenges, and fostering collaboration among MMU teams.

This initiative underscores NHM Assam’s commitment to improving healthcare delivery and addressing non-communicable diseases in underserved communities through mobile medical units.
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Radio Brahmaputra Celebrates Cultural Diversity and Community Empowerment

Radio Brahmaputra, also known as Brahmaputra Community Radio Station 90.4FM (BCRS), continues to be a beacon of community engagement and empowerment in northeast India since its inception in 2009 with UNICEF support.

On March 20th, ahead of the Holi festival, Radio Brahmaputra organized a vibrant function to celebrate the rich cultural traditions of the tea tribe community. The event showcased the community’s cultural heritage, with participants gearing up to perform the traditional lathi nitya (stick dance), capturing the essence of the festival.

Radio Brahmaputra Celebrates Cultural Diversity and Community Empowerment

Earlier, on March 5th, BCRS provided live coverage on social media of a program titled “Marriage Customs in Kurmi Society,” organized by the Jakai regional Kurmi society in Dibrugarh. This initiative highlighted the radio station’s commitment to representing diverse voices and cultural practices within the community.

Radio Brahmaputra Celebrates Cultural Diversity and Community Empowerment

Recognizing the significance of community radio in fostering community engagement, UNESCO established the first-ever Chair on Community Media at the University of Hyderabad. On March 2nd, 2024, the UNESCO Chair team, comprising Vinod Pavarala, Kanchan K Malik, and Vasuki Belavadi, visited Radio Brahmaputra. The visit aimed to explore the impact of community radio on indigenous languages and engage with the BCRS team, community members, and volunteers in tea-garden villages. The visitors praised the station’s role in community development and described their experience as both memorable and enlightening.

Radio Brahmaputra’s commitment to promoting cultural diversity, community empowerment, and indigenous languages continues to resonate across northeast India, making it a vital platform for grassroots communication and social change.

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