My Himachal sponsored health worker’s training update

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Lady Willigdon’s CHAI project based in Jibhi selected sixteen women for training through the Jibhi Clinic in 2006 via a participatory community based approach with the help of My Himachal. We held an intensive month of training in November 2006 but although we did get exposure to patients preseting at Jibhi clinic the team was always aware that patient numbers were not sufficient for broad exposure to common diseases. A week of training in our parent hospital in Manali was always planned. It has now been completed with great success.

Drivers from Manali left for Jibhi early on 19 February and arrived at the clinic in time to leave again with health workers and community liaison officer Padam Singh (My Himachal member) at 08:30. From there various workers were picked up at pre-arranged meeting sites on the way back to Manali. The keenness and work ethic was shown by the fact that all our health workers arrived on time. Once in Manali lunch was provided and the women accommodated in staff quarters at the hospital. A formal welcome by Dr. Phillip Alexander, medical superintendent of Lady Willingdon hospital preceded afternoon teaching. We were very pleased to welcome Maddu and Vimla, two heath workers from a Manali based community health NGO SHARE to join us for the week of training.

Teaching at 08:30 every morning with lecture based teaching and case presentations, discussion and role plays. After a morning break students were distributed around the wards, outpatients department, eye department, Emergency/dressing room and triage/ assessment area. By rotating stations every student had a chance to spend time at each location. After lunch we followed a similar pattern with some theoretical teaching and several hours with clinical staff members. The aim of the week was to expose the health workers to a wide range of clinical situations and contexts, to practice taking histories, to observe the varied skills involved in health, to discuss with each other how to manage cases here and in their own villages, to build relationships with us and with each other and overall to broaden their view of what a health worker is and does. A day trip to houses in villages around Manali on Friday 23 with the SHARE team was one of the best ways to create this wider view of health work.

In the evenings lectures continued on topics ranging from acute obstetrics to how to manage stocks and keep a record of finances. With lectures sometimes finishing at 21:30 it was a week of extremely hard work but there was time for recreation too, notably two evening trips led by Dr Kaaren Mathias to the hot springs at Vashiist and the temple and forest at Dungri. The week of training concluded with a superb biryani cooked by LWH cook Ashok Kumar and sweets eaten around a fire. Predictably this ended in singing and dancing under a starry Manali night.

Despite an early start I (jeph) enjoyed driving back to Jibhi with the health workers all talking extremely positively about the week and plans for the future. An indication of the keenness was the fact that the four women who live closest to our clinic chose to spend the day seeing patients with me in Jibhi rather than return immediately to families they had not seen for a week.

Overall it was an extremely enjoyable and successful week of work and thanks are due to many many staff members of LWH Manali: ward nurses, OPD nurses, our eye technician, all our doctors, our emergency room nurse, dentists, our stores manager, hospitality staff and certainly not least Ashok who consistently kept the troops fed and happy. Plans for this year include a formal graduation ceremony at Jibhi on 17 march, a roster of health workers helping us on Saturday clinics at Jibhi, monthly clinical audits and teaching sessions at Jibhi, health workers helping us with health melas and other public health interventions and perhaps a health stall at the Jibhi Mela in May….I am looking forward to seeing what unfolds.

Dr. Jeph Mathias
Team Leader Community based Health
Jibhi Chai Team
[email protected]

Earth Scientist, Author, Hiker and Traveler, Payson is a trained earth scientist and founder of InterNetwork, Inc and InterNetwork Media, Inc. Stevens has been an advisor to Great Himalayan National Park since 2000.

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