Pragati (Integrated Rural Health and Development Project) is a field action project of the Centre for Health and Mental Health, established in 1986 with the main office located in the village of Aghai, Shahpur Tehsil, Thane district. The project’s initial focus area of intervention was around health in collaboration with the Aghai PHC. It has gradually initiated work around the various social and economic determinants of health. Community engagement is the key strategy of the project, and we work with all stakeholders in the community-women, youth, children and the elderly. We also liaise with the systems and work closely with the PHC, THO and the Tribal Development Board.
After the Corona pandemic outbreak, the project team was in touch with the pada workers and the gram panchyat members assessing the local scenario. Based on the request from the PHC, we collated information on families with pregnant mothers, lactating mothers, under 6 children and older adults. The pada workers facilitated this. As per the pada workers, there is a dire need for essential food grains as the PDS has provided only rice and wheat to each family. The ASHA workers, trained by the PHC doctor, are in the fore front making home visits, distributing masks, explaining the significance of social distancing as well as monitoring the quarantine mechanisms. The community has ensured quarantine facility for people who returned from Mumbai, Kalyan and Bhiwandi.
Like the life has come to a standstill in urban areas, so is the case in Aghai and the surrounding padas. People from the padas are not able to access the facilities in the village. Even visit to the PHC for other health problems has become a challenge. ASHAs are working relentlessly, making regular home visits, and are expected to report on everyday basis about any symptoms of Corona or fever for any member in the pada. Already the nutritional status of young mothers is poor and thus the PHC doctor requests for nutritional supplements, (Iron is available in PHC), like protein powder for pregnant women.
The project aims to facilitate distribution of masks and liquid soaps to ASHA workers and other health workers. It also evolving health education content and sharing it in Marathi with the ASHA workers. It plans to facilitate supply of food grains for the identified households and protein powder sachets for pregnant women and other requirements that may come from the PHC doctor. It is also engaging with young children and adolescents and creating awareness on various aspects of COVID-19.
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