India Research Site Landscape Analysis
The India Research Site Landscape Analysis project was initiated to document the research environment, activities, challenges and achievements of public health demographic surveillance sites in India. These sites survey populations for a range of purposes, from epidemiological investigations, to more intervention oriented studies. The selected sites cover the full range of institutions, from government funded research organisations, to public-private partnerships (PPPs), to non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Lucida was commissioned by Public Health Foundation of India to produce 17- 18 documentaries pan India. During the project, Lucida took care of audio-visual documentation, interviewing stake holders, story boarding, script writing and editing. The project span was 8 months of travelling and shooting the different locations and 4 months of editing.
The Community Empowerment Lab (LAB), established in 2003 by Dr Vishwajeet Kumar, aimed to use behaviour change as a means of reducing neonatal mortality in resource poor settings. CEL set up a small office in Lucknow, and decided to focus its efforts on rural Shivgarh, a district of about 120 000 people.
Shivgarh district had a very high infant mortality rate (70 per 1000 live births), and CEL’s behaviour change strategy covered five areas to reduce this number i) Birth preparedness, ii) Bathing practices, iii) Umbilical cord and skin care, iv) Kangaroo Mother Care and v) Breastfeeding.
Villager demonstrating Kangaroo Mother Care
Community Health Workers, hired from the local community and trained to promote behaviour change, were the primary means through which this strategy was implemented.
A trial begun in 2004 sought to test CEL’s approach. 11 000 pregnant women were divided into 2 groups, with one receiving training from community health workers, and the other half receiving no intervention. The results indicated that newborn deaths were halved in the villages in which Community Health Workers were active.
Below is the documentary on CEL, Shivgarh, Lucknow.
Below are the visuals of Shivgarh intervention by community health worker
Site II : Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health (SEARCH), Gadchiroli, Maharashtra
SEARCH was founded in Gadchiroli district in 1986. It is inspired by the social philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Its founders, Dr Abhay Bang and Dr Rani Bang, received their medical training in India and their public health training at Johns Hopkins University.
The organization’s three missions are; i) providing health care to local populations, ii) training and education in health, and iii) research to help shape health policies.
SEARCH emphasizes that field research should be conducted with the full participation of local communities. Its Community Health Action and Research Approach highlights the importance of living close to, and listening carefully to the health concerns of local communities. Research and solution building activities should then be structured around central health concerns as voiced by community members themselves. Solutions to health problems are tested through rigorous field-based trials, and then published for scrutiny by the scientific community and policy makers.
SEARCH conducted a field trial in Gadchiroli on home-based neonatal care from 1993 to 1998. SEARCH trained village health workers to make home visits and manage birth asphyxia, premature birth or low birthweight, hypothermia, breast-feeding problems, in addition to diagnosing and treating neonatal sepsis (septicaemia, meningitis & pneumonia). 39 Intervention and 47 control villages were selected in Gadchiroli district, with the study results demonstrating that SEARCH’s home-based newborn care (HBNC) approach reduced neonatal and infant mortality by nearly 50%.
SEARCH maintains a comprehensive Demographic Surveillance System in Gadchiroli, which records all births, deaths, migrations (in and out), and marriages in the area. Its activities have now expanded into the areas of non-communicable diseases, tobacco and alcohol consumption, and adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
Below is the documentary made for SHARE
Below are the visuals from the Gadchiroli community health worker’s intervention
To see other 16 sites and the videos, please visit Public health Foundation of India’s research site.
Teammates: Pradeep Menon, Suruchi Dumpawar, Mridul Batra
Context: Commissioned by Public Health Foundation of India