Thursday, February 21, 2008

Description of Shaktishifa and the Community Health Network

I realized that a lot of people reading this blog (if anyone actually is) have no idea what Shaktishifa is, or why I am here. What follows is a description of the clinic, and the project I am working, the Community Health Network. It's a so-so write-up, but it's all I have for now

Community Health Network

We envision a Hyderabad comprised of healthy families empowered to lead fulfilling
lives. Access to healthcare, education and basic infrastructure, provisions we consider basic human rights, will be guaranteed. The security of such rights will be ensured by educated, engaged and well-resourced communities across the city.

Our mission at its core is to enable the urban poor to achieve greater self determination in promoting their communities’ health and well being. To this end, we will engage community participation to develop truly community-based healthcare.
We will promote community leadership at every level of a comprehensive approach
to healthcare which encompasses preventative, promotive, and curative
aspects. Moreover, we recognize that health is impacted by a constellation of factors, and to this end we will pursue socio-economic development in partnership
with the communities we serve.

Project Description:
The Community Health Network was established in 2007 to extend and complement
the existing activities of the Shaktishifa Health Foundation. Shaktishifa’s services
encompass a three tier system.

At the tertiary level, the foundation utilizes its extensive organizational networks to refer patients onto hospital based care not provided by the organization itself.
At the secondary level, Shaktishifa provides a full-spectrum of primary care services,including diagnostic treatment, lab testing, specialist referrals, etc.
The Community Health Network (CHN) comprises the primary level of services offered
by the foundation. A recent addition to the foundation, funded by a seed grant
from Concern India, the mission of the CHN office is to foster community based
health and development programmes in the localities served by Shaktishifa. Currently,
CHN primarily operates in two bastis, Dewarconda and Shoukatnagar,
comprising a population of 4000 individuals.
Health programmes encompass all levels of healthcare, including curative, preventive
and promotive. Domiciallary services are offered by mobile health teams which
travel directly to the communities we serve, and feature community involvement
through the use of women’s groups and community health workers, CHWs (who
work in partnership with the mobile health teams). Preventive services focus primarily on health education, and again feature significant community involvement
through the role of women’s groups and CHWs. The health education programme
consists of training about nutrition, childhood illness, chronic disease, environmental determinants of health, and various other pertinent topics. Finally, promotive programmes include general development initiatives, including income generation groups, environmental improvement and the like; once again, local involvement
is paramount, in the form of project focused community action groups.
At the core of every CHN program, there is an emphasis on developing self-sustaining
programs. Although we initially provide health services through our staff, we aim
to create self-sufficient health systems in the communities we serve within five
years of initiating activities in a given locality. After this point, we transition to a supportive role, after which we can move on to providing more intensive support
to additional communities, thereby increasing our impact.

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