The My Himachal and Lady Willingdon Hospital/ Jibhi Clinic alliance continued for their third year of local health care in the Upper Banjar/Seraj Valley. In 2005 and 2006 the children of Kharaghard Panchayat (assemblage of local villages into local governing entity) were vaccinated for common childhood illnesses (MMR, Hepatitis B), nutritional supplements (Vitamin A, zinc) were given, and de-worming provided (details here). Child health assessments were carried out (weight, height, diet, vision, and dental). The main finding in 2006 was that 85% of the children were suffering from malnutrition (stunting, low weight) and associated health problems. Health Mela 2007 will cover five villages (Seri, Tandi, Thnaar, Kandi, and Mihar) from Tandi Panchayat (adjacent to Kharaghard Panchayat). This will actually cover children from approximately ten villages. A brief summary for the five villages follows:
SERI VILLAGE: 4 June 2007. The program of immunizations and child health surveys started with the village of Seri. We set up in the plaza near the local school. About twenty people, half from Lady Willingdon Hospital staff were present including eight women health workers who had been trained by JIBHI CHAI last year, with partial funding by My Himachal. The NGO, SAHARA continued as last year, with Kala Jatha (Street Theater) giving performances with health issue themes (nutrition, alcoholism).
While the children were waiting for care, games were played and the winners received prizes of toothbrush and toothpaste. 47 children were immunized, representing approximately 95% coverage.
TANDI VILLAGE: On. June 5, we left from Jibhi clinic at 9.00 am. After a one hour steep walk on up hill we arrived a govt primary school. The health program covered for two villages (Tandi and Bhuaa). Villagers were quite exited at our presence and brought almost all their children for immunization. 42 children were examined and vaccinated. Malnutrition was prevalent.
THANNAR VILLAGE: June 6. We drove approx. 3+km on the Gadagushani road followed by a 40 minute walk up go the Govt Primary School. The local teacher was extremely helpful providing a separate room for examinations while in another he continued his lessons . 57 children were examined and vaccinated.
KHANDI VILLAGE: June 7. After 25 minute from the Jibhi clinic, we set up on the verandah of a house provided by a local villager. Khandi is a Scheduled Class (SC) village and the poorest of the panchayat that was visited. Malnutrition was acute, hygiene limited and the children were very vulnerable to health and developmental problems. 55 children were examined and vaccinated.
MIHAR VILLAGE: June 8. Mihar is a larger center for surrounding villages and children from Saach, Soom ,Naranh, and Mihar were examined at the Govt Primary School. 48 children were examined and vaccinated.
FIRST MONTH RESULTS: A total of 249 children were examined from June 4-8. Follow-up visits to the same five villages will take place July 2-7 and then again September 3-7.85% of village children were suffering from malnutrition. Refinement of the survey data showed that village girls and Schedule Class were suffering at a 90% rate. One interesting finding was that the Tandi Panchayat records indicated approximately 160 children (under 12 years) and we examined 249 children.