The Hope Foundation’s Primary Healthcare Programme was originally conceived after observing the utterly unacceptable health status of street and slum dwellers. The harsh environmental and economic conditions in the slums result in malnutrition among children and elevated infant & maternal mortality rates. Poor access to the most basic of amenities - healthcare, nutrition, water and sanitation and limited knowledge of their entitlements to government services - heightens their vulnerability. The most commonly reported reasons for not using government facilities were the poor quality of care, excessive waiting times, misbehaviour of health service providers and the lack of knowledge regarding services. The percentage of households covered under any health scheme or social entitlement was particularly low.
HOPE has been implementing its community-based Jana Swasthya Suraksha Primary Healthcare in 35 slums, from 2007. The programme essentially aims to make slum dwellers aware of their basic rights with regard to health and social development and to support and facilitate them, through awareness generation, action, access, and advocacy. The programme is divided into 3 phases to make it more impact oriented: The Stage of Initiation (2007-11); The Stage of Consolidation (2011-15); and the current final phase: The Stage of Phasing Out (2015-17).
The programme, now in its final year, has created sustainable change in the community.
56% of residents benefit from health facilities, compared to 14% at the start of the intervention. 99% of mothers have accessed complete Ante Natal Care (ANC) services compared to 17% at the start of the programme, pointing to a significant increase in accessing Jana Suraksha Yojana (JSY) - the government sponsored scheme for ensuring safety and health for pregnant mothers. 81% children are now immunised compared to 16% initially.
Community people are much more aware about diseases, preventive measures and management. Their overall knowledge on ANC, PNC (Post Natal Care), immunization, storage of drinking water and sanitation has improved. The programme has remained successful in creating positive impact especially in the areas of maternal and child health and increased access to public health facilities and entitlements. Positive changes has also been reported as most of the children, adolescent girls and malnourished pregnant mothers now access ICDS (Government welfare programme providing food to children and pregnant mothers, pre-school education, immunization and health care support to adolescent girls to prevent anaemia) services. Present linkages that have been established between Community Health Volunteers and Health Service Providers that will contribute towards sustainability of this project. Community Health Groups are effectively functional; members are aware of their tasks and responsibilities and work on health issues including ensuring ANC, PNC and child immunisation, accompanying pregnant women to the hospital to ensure the same, sharing the information on various schemes, facilities available from government for them and information on accessing those facilities. They have started regular meetings on their own and handle health issues affecting their own communities and are successfully taking the ownership of the programme and managing it, which will sustain after the end of this intervention.
The three critical issues addressed this year were: