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Published: February 6th 2014
Location of the Seva Mandir maternal and child health clinic
I am doing a 1 month internship with the NGO Seva Mandir in Udaipur. Elise is doing a 6 month internship. Elise learnt of Seva Mandir as she researched her plan for a career in international development.
My work at Seva Mandir is in the health section, as compared with the education, empowerment, natural resources, governance sections. The philosophy of volunteering here is that the work you do both meets of the needs of the volunteer and those of the organisation. My project will be to write a report on a pilot project of a new maternal and child health clinic associated with a village hospital. This is a new model of care for the area, building upon an existing system of traditional birthing attendants and maternal and child assistants (Bal Sakhis). Neither of these groups of women have health training, and the former are illiterate. The hospital is at Kojawara in the Udaipur district. This is about 85km south of the city of Udaipur.
Elise and I will work together on this project. We will draw the data from the clinic registers, and do the analysis on the distribution of symptoms, diseases, treatments and outcomes. Also, there will
A much welcomed child
This woman had had multiple miscarriages over 7 years. She came to the clinic, received treatment and her daughter was born 3 years ago
be some case studies of women and children who have used the service, and also an overview of the village (sanitation, water supply, health related facilities). Elise will also work in this project. The report will be used for advocacy and funding for continuation of the clinic and hopefully expansion to other areas.
The jeep goes to the clinic 3 days a week, and we will go out as required. Travelling there, the country side is fairly barren, rugged country with many hills and valleys. The hospital is out through the outskirt slum areas of Udaipur, onto the main 4 lane toll road, and then onto smaller and smaller roads. Kojawara is a small village and the hospital about 1km from the village. The hospital is a set of about 4 single level, small interconnected buildings. The doctor resigned mid last year, so actually the only health care happening there is the Seva Mandir clinic.
The jeep takes the clinic doctor from Udaipur out each day, and translators as required. Right on 11 the women and children started to arrive. Most came with their Bal Sakhis as support, and of course all walked there. The women appeared happy,
and welcomed us with smiles. They were very colourfully dressed. Many were pregnant, although with a saree it is hard to tell if a woman is pregnant till the latter months. The clinic finishes at 4.
Since Oct 2012, when the project started, the clinic has seen about 4000 women and children. For the women the health issues relate to prenatal and antenatal care, gynaecological problems, with a small amount of general primary health care. For the children, the issues are respiratory, skin, ear infections, as well as malaria, anaemia and malnutrition. There is some capacity to refer the more serious cases to other health facilities.
The clinic patients some from about 100 villages in the area, with about 40% from Kojawara. The patients walk to the clinic.
When we are not at the hospital, we work in the Seva Mandir offices at Udaipur. Elise is also working on an income generation project for women (making and selling laundry detergent), and on a project to enhance school attendance in a specific village. One of the charms of working at the office is the chai wallah, who constantly does the office rounds selling chai at 8c/glass.
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