School health program provides knowledge and awareness about health and diseases to prevent illnesses
Location: Tamil Nadu
NGO: Tribal Health Initiative
Tribal Health Initiative has worked with tribal villages of Kalrayan Hills and Sittlingi Valley for the past seven years to provide health services and educate school children about good health and sanitation.
- The Kalrayan Hills area has 200 tribal villages with only three primary healthcare centers and lacks round-the-clock access to a doctor.
- Before the Tribal Health Initiative established a healthcare clinic in Aruna, villagers were forced to travel to Sittilingi (a ~60 km commute) to treat simple illnesses.
- Tribal Health Initiative’s school health program uses quizzes and role-playing to evaluate student’s knowledge of health.
- Programs include free vision check ups, tuberculosis awareness, environmental sanitation, menstrual hygiene class for girls in eleventh and twelfth grades, and first aid and home remedies.
- Each Wednesday, a team of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers see 60-70 patients at the Aruna clinic. 2,467 patients were treated from 2017 to 2018.
- The school health programs were conducted at six schools in the Kalrayan area and are being extended to other schools in Sitlingi valley. Around 1,000 students have been reached through the program.
- Awareness regarding Nutritious foods Increase in consumption of locally available fruits and vegetables.
- Improvement in environmental sanitation Reduced littering and cleaner school/classroom areas. Effects starting to show up in homes and neighborhoods. Reduction in the use of plastics.
- Better care of injuries and wounds Reduction in use of mud for treatment of diseases. Increase in use of soap and water.
- Effective use of medicines and homemade remedies Reduction in open field defecation, proper hand washing (using soap) after defecation and appropriate medication to treat worm infestation. Few students have even convinced their parents to build toilets in their houses. But all students wash their hands with soap and water, and have use de-worming tablets regularly.
Tribal Health Initiative was started in 1992 by Dr. Regi George and Dr. Lalitha Regi. Today we have expanded into a team of over 55 highly trained people, working to improve the lives of the tribal communities living in the Sittilingi valley and surrounding hills through a variety of programmes in health care, community health, farming and craft work.
They aim to: