At the 2016 AID conference, volunteers talked about building the capacity of AID to work holistically through issue-based cells. Volunteers interested in agriculture met during the conference and formed the agri cell. Volunteers interested in restarting the health cell started meeting on the phone and google hangout in July. Some highlights of health cell activities in 2016:
Dr. Abhay Shukla, who at the 2009 AID conference spoke about issues concerning access to quality, affordable health services for ordinary people in India and along with the NGO SATHI initiated efforts in community based monitoring of public health services, shared plans to scale this effort up in several districts of Maharashtra and eventually to the entire state and nation, building it into the culture of people’s interaction with the public health system, just as RTI has become part of the national civic culture.
Since the health cell was in its formative stages at the time we received the proposal, interested volunteers reviewed through their chapters, while keeping the health cell volunteers in the loop on the progress of the review and site visit. We used the interest generated around this proposal to draw more volunteers into the health cell.
Dr. Anant Phadke of SATHI -CEHAT, Medico Friends Circle and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) talked with health cell volunteers about the plan for Universal Health Care in India and the obstacles he and his colleagues have faced in getting the government to implement it.
Notes from Anant Phadke’s talk (August 8 via google hangout).
In September, Sonali Rahagude visited some villages where SATHI was working with a local community organization to implement the community based monitoring program. In October she shared a report of her visit on a call with the health cell and including volunteers from the chapters formally reviewing the proposal. She has also written an article, “Community Based Monitoring in Velhe.”
In November, Dr. Abhay Shukla visited Vancouver to attend the Global Health Conference and also visited Seattle and Bay Area chapters. He agreed to have a google hangout with health cell volunteers and interested people on the topic of “Health: State Moving Backward, Movements Innovating to Move Forward,” and the Bay Area chapter kindly hosted a talk which was simultaneously aired on google hangout. As the number of people wishing to attend exceeded the capacity of google hangout, they quickly set up a webcast on periscope TV and allowed people who were not on the google hangout to ask questions via chat or text. Hosted by AID-Bay Area and aired live on Periscope TV.
In our year-end wrap-up call, Gayathri a student of public health in Baltimore shared that following the November call with Dr. Shukla, she spoke with the research director at SATHI to work out a plan to do research in what factors help the community based monitoring approach work better, and plans to do this as part of her practicum in her MPH program.
As a group, we plan to study the policy statements issued by NGOs and movements working to achieve the goal of health for all, as a democratic right. We will start with the following:
Report on Universal Health Coverage
We decided to meet on alternate Fridays and will resume in January 2017.