Updates on Northwestern’s Anemia Intervention in Charnia

Focusing on sustainable solutions to Anemia

December 2013 marks three months since the Northwestern Chapter started our anemia intervention in Charnia, Haryana. Over the summer, we picked health promoters in each village, met with local health officials, and tested all the women and children in our target brick zone populations in Charnia. Coordinating with the local government run primary health center and our health promoters, we ensured weekly delivery of iron folic acid supplementation to our brick zones to target high anemia levels. On December 15th, three Northwestern RISHI members went to Charnia to retest hemoglobin levels and to start developing new ideas for sustainable change in Charnia.

We hope that our data shows hemoglobin levels improved in our brick zones and the anemia rate fell. We also hope that our health promoters made a significant difference in compliance rates for the IFA supplementation. However, we will have to analyze the data from our December trip before we can draw these conclusions. However, during our December trip, we hope to strengthen and empower our health promoters through videos we have developed at Northwestern. Using our December trip to pilot these videos, we eventually hope to deliver these videos to our health promoter’s cell phones for weekly trainings. Through this system, we will be able to have a continuing impact in the community while back in the US.

A technician conducts hemoglobin testing

Eventually, we hope to expand our videos from our health promoters to the government ASHA workers who are supposed to visit our brick zones and provide basic health services. However, many studies have shown that ASHA workers are simply not motivated enough to do their work and many lack the knowledge and education to do so. After looking at studies done on the ASHA system, it seems that a lack of education plays a large role in the inability of the ASHA system to meet its goals. The ASHA system is the ideal place to expand our weekly training videos as the ASHA workers directly impact Charnia, our brick zones, and the surrounding communities. By increasing the availability and ease of access to health education, we hope this will drive an increase in ASHA effectiveness in Charnia, serving as a model for further expansion.

Northwestern’s December trip will be crucial in not only determining the success of our anemia intervention and health promoter system in Charnia, but also in laying the groundwork for next year’s summer trip.

Women and Children line up for hemoglobin testing

Article by Chintin Pathak

Originally published at www.projectrishi.org.