Health Transformation in Remote Areas of MP: The Story of 'Green Commandos'
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Health Transformation in Remote Areas of MP: The Story of ‘Green Commandos’

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Health Transformation in Remote Areas

A team of auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) toiled tirelessly for two days, having undertaken the foot journey of over 1, 000 km to make mission Green Commando successful.  Navigating through arduous and inhospitable terrains, despite harsh weather conditions, the team was resolute to immunise children in Madhya Pradesh’s Pati Block, narrates Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).

The old adage ‘There’s a will, there’s a way’ stands true for the Pati block in Barwani district of State which has overcome a long battle against diseases like measles and tetanus, courtesy  the much hailed immunisation programme .

Launched in 2016 in Pati Block, one of the most backward blocks of India having low HDI (Human development Index), this immunisation project was named Green Commando.

The aim of the mission Green Commando has been to vaccinate kids and pregnant women in the area having a high mortality rate.

Considering the topography and lack of accessibility, it was difficult to implement immunisation programme here.  There were no roads and only hilly terrains in the block. It was impossible to approach and reach the villages on hilltops. Moreover, after Dussehra festival, villagers would migrate to big cities to earn their livelihood only to return for Bhagoria Festival in March.

Thanks to local administrative machinery’s motivation, a team of ANMs resolutely toiled for two days, covering over 1,000 km journey on foot for the success of the Green Commando mission.

Unmindful of the inhospitable terrain and inclement weather conditions, they marched on with their heavy immunisation kit and other required stuff to cover the whole area. These Green Commandoes went door-to-door to all the houses in 130 hamlets.

The result was that all women and children of 130 remote hamlets of 33 villages, falling under eight health sub-centres, were immunised in just two days! It led to the rise of immunisation programme from 40 percent to 100 percent in the area.

It was second round in March, after Bhagoria festival, which ensured 100 per cent coverage for the remote Rosar Sector and 90 percent coverage for Pati block.

“We need to rework our strategies and approaches to make health accessible and affordable to all. Open thinking aided by technology is required,” says Tejaswi Naik, Collector, Barwani, Madhya Pradesh who is also the brainchild behind Green Commando project.

The ANMs have been convinced and motivated to view their job as nothing less than that of a soldier.

Both are alike as they protect us by working in difficult terrain. While soldiers safeguard the borders, the Green Commandos save future generation and mothers from several deadly diseases. Hence, ANMs were referred as Green Commando.

130 ANMs were recruited on voluntary manner for the Rosar sector, which is spread over 130 hamlets on 800 Hillock.

A three-day drive was conducted where it was pre-decided that ANMs would stay in local houses or nearby stations there by reducing the time to commute.

All these unelectrified villages required maintenance of cold chain for vaccines for which five ANMs were allotted to district officials. Last mile connectivity was ensured by the local teacher on bikes to take each ANM to their target household.

The exercise involved tracking tough gradients, use of boats to cross Sardar Sarovar apart from commuting by buses, four-wheelers and bikes.

The immunisation programme captured imagination of local population, who are now more forthcoming and cooperative in such effort.

So much so that the response for other flagship schemes like Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Ujjwala and Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana (PMAY) have also received positive response. Since it is to be repeated twice annually for all, tough pockets, public awareness is pre-requirement.

With the success of the immunisation programme, it has been proved that focussed approach can yield good results.

Workers should be trained and stakeholders must be taken into confidence to make a scheme successful. Need of the hour is to identify areas of intervention and focus the effort to maximum yield.

Immunisation was chosen for its obvious correlation with Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). In the larger scheme of things, it will be the first step towards achieving reduction in IMR, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) and malnutrition as well as improving HDI of the region.

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