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Taking care of rural health via radio

A wave is likely to sweep villages across Jharkhand, bringing in positive changes in health sector.

The state government is all set to air an effective radio counselling programme to encourage certain behavioural changes that in turn will bring positive results in the field of village health and nutrition. The broadcasting is likely to start from this July.

State head of Unicef Job Zachariah announced this while speaking at a workshop on village health and nutrition strengthening organised at a Ranchi hotel on Wednesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the programme, Zachariah said that they have conceived the radio programme in such a way that it would not be like a drab advertisement.

Topics like the importance of washing hands, basic hygiene etc will be presented through skits in the proposed radio programme.

“All the materials are ready,” said the Unicef chief, adding that auxiliary nurses, sahiyas and anganwadi workers, who usually counsel the villagers, would organise gatherings and raise the topic just before the programme is broadcasted and later initiate a group discussion on the same issue.

A cell has also been formed in the state unit of national rural health mission to monitor the radio programme.

During Wednesday’s workshop, more than 60 stakeholders discussed the findings of various NGOs who work in the field of village health care.

The findings show that basic facilities like antenatal care for mothers and immunisation of babies are being offered in villages and there is no dearth of essentials such as vaccines and iron-folic acid tablets.

However, the ground-level survey also reveals many gaps.

A preliminary survey conducted by partner NGOs in support with Unicef and Child in Need Institute (CINI) found that many government-run primary health care centres had no safe drinking water facility or a separate enclosure for abdominal check-up for expecting mothers.

“These are primary findings and we have to cross check before arriving at any conclusion,” said Ranjan Panda, state head of CINI.