Thirty-seven years after a village health handbook ‘Where there is no doctor’ was first published in Spanish, city doctors have resurrected the book to improve the health conditions in a village.
Last month, doctors at Sion hospital started training villagers from Vaitarna in Thane district to identify and treat common ailments such as diarrhoea and skin rash based on the health education book written by David Werner, an American, who worked in the villages of Mexico for decades.
“We borrowed the idea from the book and the concept of barefoot doctors in China,” said Dr Ramesh Chaturvedi, head of preventive and social medicine, Sion hospital.
From April 19, 22 locals from four villages comprising housewives, retired teachers, college boys called Grameen Aarogya Rakshaks — rural health volunteers — underwent traning in prevention, recognition and treatment of common ailments.
“Those trained can take care of their families and at least 10 more families they know. This can change the health of the village,” said Dr Pallavi Shelke, project incharge and assistant professor, Sion hospital.
The training will take place every week for about six months and stress on nutrition, vaccinations and personal hygiene.
“I struggle whenever my daughters (aged nine months and three months) fall ill in the middle of the night. Doctors for children are available only in Khardi or Wada, both of which are about 22-23km away,” said Neha Nitin Kor, a housewife from Tembhi village, Vaitarna, one of the 14 women who are part of the training programme.
The volunteers are not given monetary incentives but will be provided with a certificate at the end of the training course after they undergo evaluation.