My Himachal on Indian Express

Mela of a different kind brings fun with health awareness

Sanjay Dutta

Manali, August 6: SITUATED at an elevation of 9,000 feet and a three-hour hike from the paved road, the village of Sajwaar was not expecting itself to host a health mela. However, a unique collaboration recently brought child healthcare not only to Sajwaar but also to a number of other remote villages in the Seraj/Upper Banjar valley of Kullu in July, said Avnish Katoch, of My Himachal, a non-profit group launched by Himachalis from world over. Katoch said volunteer doctors and staff from Lady Willington Hospital in Manali working with the local NGO Sahara, and villagers from the Khadagarh Panchayat (Seraj Valley/Upper Banjar), all joined forces to bring villagers a health mela. Katoch added that the event was funded by My Himachal.

Projects like the health mela are the beginning of our efforts to help improve conditions in Himachal’s rural areas. our goals also include working for the environment and taking steps towards sustainable livelihoods. As Himachali NRIs, we want to connect to our rural folks and to encourage others to come forward and be a part of the effort, said Avnish Katoch, who is the general secretary of My Himachal and is based in the USA.

Sources revealed that the mela not only provided free vaccines (for MMR/measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis B) but also a festive atmosphere for wider health promotion in the remote villages. Nutritional surveys of children were carried out along with weight and height measurements. Cooking demonstrations using soy flour mixed with atta for chapattis and a super porridge were shown to parents for their pre-schoolers for enhanced nutrition. Deworming and micronutrient supplementation with Vitamin A and Zinc were also provided to the children. DCG/TD scars were examined so that a list could be compiled for government health workers to follow up under national immunisation programme.

According to the sources, with the help of Sahara’s street theatre group — Kala Jatha, skits were developed using humour and music to promote health messages. Games were organised by the Sahara group with prizes of toothpaste or toothbrushes for the youngsters to encourage dental hygiene.

The health mela also visited the villages of Jibhi, Solhanu, Shoja, and Hirub. A total of 280 children were vaccinated last month.

On Hindustan Times

Scanned copy from paper.

An IT professional for 17 years, based in the US since the last 12 years. Founded NGO My Himachal and then Himachal Media Pvt. Ltd.. A Himachali forever. Always trying to bring together people whose hearts beat for the state.

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  1. says: manjunatha.l

    thanks for your nice stoty of u trekking .Plz when u r leaving mail me i am laso interested if u people like

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