CALL FOR HELP!
Support our efforts to confront Covid-19 while providing essential health services to migrant, rural-tribal communities of southern Rajasthan
Action Research & Training for Health (ARTH), an Udaipur based non-profit public health society established in 1997, has been providing essential health care to a rural-tribal population of 550,000 in southern Rajasthan. A large number of men from here, migrate to cities of neighbouring Gujarat and Maharashtra in search of work. Most have started returning to their villages in the wake of the lock down due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The screening and home isolation of such returnees has become a major challenge, along with abrupt loss of income and poor access to health care due to transport restrictions and inability to pay for drugs and medication. ARTH directly provides primary care, especially reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health services in two rural-tribal districts of Rajasthan. Two years ago, we added mental health and elder care services. One urban and three rural health clinics cater to low-income populations – ARTH’s unique 24×7 delivery and newborn care model led by trained nurse-midwives has enabled over 13,500 women to deliver safely and helped over 3000 low birth weight newborns to survive. About 600 village-based women Community Health Entrepreneurs educate and provide contraceptives to young women in 437 villages. With the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic and resultant lock down, routine operations have been disrupted.
What does Covid mean for the rural-tribal poor and migrants?
Abrupt loss of work and mobility has meant that families must now struggle to access health care, especially for pregnant women and infants. Even though urban hospitals are open, it becomes important to provide health care locally so that rural families do not have to travel to crowded towns and cities where they would be at greater risk of contracting Covid. A woman in labour cannot wait, nor can an infant or child suffering from acute illness or malnutrition. Returning out-of-job migrants might spread Covid infection in their home villages, simultaneously, the chances of unwanted pregnancy will likely increase, hence young couples must have easy access to contraceptives. Lastly, those with chronic conditions such as mental illness and old-age problems should remain on treatment without disruption for want of medication. In short, essential health care must continue while actively taking steps to confront Covid.
ARTH staff providing patient care at 24×7 health centres
ARTH has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic in its area by maintaining access to essential health services. Click here to know more