We spent all of Week 3 at an organization called SWACH in Chandigarh learning about what the organization does to promote health in India. Below is CFHI’s description:
Survival for Women and Children (SWACH) Foundation, Chandigarh
Established on 6th October, 1988 with an aim to improve the survival and quality of health of the under privileged women and children in the rural/urban slums. To actively involve local organizations like village Panchayats, Mahila Mandals, MSS, Youth clubs in brining behavioural changes and increase use of health services. To improve quality of health care of women and children through strengthening of efforts by grassroot workers like Dais (TBAs), Anganwari workers and female MPWs. To develop and introduce simple innovations that enable safer birth and help revive babies who do not breathe or cry at the time of birth.
The major objective is to provide support to existing mother and child survival efforts of Govt. of India through improved training, supplies and monitoring; to increase co-operation and collaboration amongst NGOs through networking and linkages; to promote self reliance among women through assistance in education and vocational training; to encourage inter-sectoral collaboration by linkages with education, women & child development and rural development to improve MCH & FP.
SWACH has adopted 250 villages under Khizrabad CHC, district Yamunanagar and carried out and operational research. They provide ‘ hands on’ practice in training to the participants to ensure provision of good quality health services by providing skills, motivation and support. It includes organizing induction and ongoing training, meeting supply shortfall, promoting linkage and generation of information on vital events.
Other key areas that SWACH is involved with are promotion of contraceptives through social marketing, popularizing safe delivery, surveys and evaluations, innovations and operations experiences, domiciliary care of LBW babies, elimination of neo-natal and maternal tetanus, management of ARI in children (evidence for national policy), management of Birth Asphyxia (Multi country study), promotion of home based client kept records by women, training and IEC to bring about behavior change and improving collaboration and co-operation among NGOs.
Current program sites in the capacity of Mother NGO in collaboration with Govt. of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, WHO, UNFPA, USAID etc:
_MNGO (Mother NGO)/RCH-II in Yamunanagar and Panchkula.
_Janani Suvidha Yojna in the urban slums of Panchkula and Yamunanagar.
_Targeted Interventions on HIV/AIDS among the FSWs in Panchkula.
_Adolescent Health Programme in Yamunanagar and Panchkula.
_Promotion of Clean Pads in Five Districts of Haryana.
_Community Response to adverse sex ratio in Alwar District, Rajasthan
_Out source Training Agency for Haryana Health Department.
The main thing to take away from SWACH is that it tries to improve availability of pre-existing government healthcare services, not create its own system. At least for the week that I was there, I got the impression that SWACH was a well-run organization. They educate their target population by building trust; something that I’ve learned is a very important first step. Without trust, you cannot expect someone to listen to you and take your advice seriously. SWACH also tries to employ members of the local community instead of relying on outsiders, which I’ve found to be more effective because that basic trust is already there with a community member.
We also went on a few outreach visits with the organization. At one of the villages, we sat in a mother’s club session, where grassroots workers educate mothers about parenting. Besides from being an education center, the club is also a place where mothers can share their own experiences and find time to play with their children.