[WEBCAST] On the Frontline: India's Community Health SoldiersVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Wednesday, 27th May, 6.00 p.m. – 7.00 p.m.
Watch Live on Facebook
Months before the coronavirus pandemic spread in India, the Kerala government had swung into action by mobilising workers at all administrative levels. A dedicated COVID19 taskforce ensured there was efficient communication between state officials and district medical officers to carry out the standard WHO protocol of trace, test, isolate and support. And on the ground, alongside doctors and nurses, Kerala’s 26,000 ASHA (or Accredited Social Health Activists) workers turned into the eyes and ears of state leaders and public health experts, conducting door to door surveys to check for signs of infection and ensuring strict implementation of quarantine measures. The information gathered by ASHAs formed the basis of the state’s decentralised data collection strategy and allowed the government to take swift and informed decisions to contain the spread. Community engagement was an integral part of the strategy.
In countries with limited healthcare resources, there is a vital need to strengthen frontline capacity to respond to disease and build resilience. Community health workers are often the first, and in some cases, the only, link to health systems for people living in hard-to-reach communities. Donning multiple roles of service providers, activists, healthcare facilitators and at times medical suppliers, these workers act as intermediaries between public health officials and the community. As COVID-19 has demonstrated, community engagement may need to be re-imagined to ensure populations are partners, rather than only passive recipients, of health care programmes.
This programme will discuss the role of community health workers and community participation in health systems for early detection, diagnosis and treatment of the coronavirus, and how to integrate and connect them to the larger system of healthcare delivery and workforce as the country responds to persistent challenges. The expert panellists are Rajani Ved, Executive Director, National Health Systems Resource Centre; Rajeev Sadanandan, former Kerala Health Secretary and CEO, Health Systems Transformation Platform; Nayreen Daruwalla, Program Director, SNEHA and the panel is moderated by Sapna Desai, Associate at Population Council and Asia 21 alumnus.
This is a web-only event that will be live-streamed on Facebook. Viewers can submit questions through comments during the live stream.
Dr. Rajani R. Ved is the Executive Director at the National Health Systems Resource Center, which provides technical support to the Government of India’s National Health Mission at central and state government levels. Her work focuses on linking community processes with health systems and supporting the implementation of comprehensive primary health care. She has over thirty years of experience as a practitioner-researcher with grassroots NGOs, governments, donors and private foundations in programme implementation, evaluation and research and policy formulation in the area of women and children’s health and nutrition and health systems. Her special interest is implementing research on scaling up innovations to large scale health systems.
Rajeev Sadanandan is the CEO of Health System Transformation Platform, a not-for-profit company engaged in Health Systems Research. Prior to this, he was the health secretary of Kerala state, where he initiated the transformation of the health system in the state with a focus on primary care, designing and executing disease prevention and health promotion programmes, integrating social and epidemiological determinants to health care and applying technology to improve healthcare delivery. He was the CEO of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), India’s national social health programme. Rajeev had been involved in developing and managing the TB control and HIV/AIDS programme at the national and state level.
Nayreen Daruwalla heads SNEHA’s Prevention of Violence against Women and Children programme. She holds a doctoral degree in Social Psychology and has over two decades of experience in working towards the prevention of gender-based violence, particularly through mental health counselling and crisis intervention for survivors of violence, community mobilisation, and public engagement through art and research. Her expertise is in building models to prevent gender violence in low-income contexts and has developed SNEHA’s convergence model, which includes capacity building and training to support institutional responses (of health, law enforcement and the legal system) to gender-based violence, as well as advocacy.
Sapna Desai is an epidemiologist and public health practitioner based at the Population Council, New Delhi. Her work focuses on women’s group interventions to improve health and well-being, epidemiology and treatment-seeking for gynaecological morbidity, and women’s engagement with health systems through the life cycle. Dr Desai previously spent several years working with the Self-Employed Women’s Association, where she led a national community health worker team that delivered primary healthcare and health insurance in several states of India. She was a Fellow of the Asia 21 Young Leaders Programme.
For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/india/events/webcast-frontline-indias-community-health-soldiers For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/india/events/webcast-frontline-indias-community-health-soldiers