Saturday, May 30, 2015

Creative Solutions to Rural Public Health Concerns

This afternoon we continued our day with the Swami Vivenkananda Youth Movement with a visit to Sargur Hospital, which is located in the rural area outside of Mysore, Karnataka.

This afternoon we continued our day with the Swami Vivenkananda Youth Movement with a visit to Sargur Hospital, which is located in the rural area outside of Mysore, Karnataka.

This hospital serves the rural and tribal populations in the surrounding area, offering low prices for high quality care.

"Goal of our rural oriented heath initiative (ROHINI): A healthy community through promotion and sustenance of good health, prevention of disease, early diagnosis and treatment and rehabilitation"

"Our Mission: To facilitate and develop processes that improves quality of life of people"

The hospital uses a combined model of both Ayurvedic and Allopathy (sometimes referred to as Western medicine or modern medicine; i.e. what is practiced in the United States). Depending on the patient's preference for treatment and their specific condition or ailment, the team of doctors determines the best course of treatment.

In addition to providing health care, the hospital also carries out a variety of public health initiatives. A community health radio station operates 6 hours a day 7 days a week and covers topics relevant to the hospital's population; for example, guest speakers may come to share their knowledge about diabetes or HIV prevention with the rural and tribal populations.

It was explained to us that India's rural populations have limited access to safe drinking water, partially due to poor sanitation practices. Open-air defecation is one such practice that the hospital aims to eliminate so as to reduce the burden of water-borne illnesses that plague rural populations. We were shown several toilet models that have been customized for different rural communities.

Way to toilet.png

Instead of contaminating surface water used for drinking and cooking, the waste will be contained and treated.

Toilets IMG_8235.jpg

In addition to preventing contamination of surface water, the hospital also works to help the rural populations to collect rainwater.

Rain water IMG_8236.jpg

After many days of engineering-focused discussion it was refreshing for the public health students to hear about sustainable development from medical professionals and community health workers. We grappled with the human rights and cultural sensitivity issues that come along with inserting a Western hospital and public health initiatives regarding sanitation into a context that does not initially welcome such changes.


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