Community Intervention -Health Rights and Entitlements of Socially Excluded Communities
CHSJ in partnership with the Dalit human rights network, Swadhikar in Madhya Pradesh worked towards non-discriminatory access to health rights and to ensure the health rights of socially excluded communities. Under this initiative, CHSJ through its partner organisations Satyakam Jankalyan Samiti, Pradeepan and Krishak Sahayog Sansthan has been working in Chindwada, Betul and Raisen districts respectively with scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Muslim communities. CHSJ mainly provides technical support to the partner organisations. Health Action Groups (HAG) have been formed at the village level. 178 HAG have been formed across the three districts. HAG members have been provided capacity building to enhance their knowledge and understanding on the provisions related to rural entitlements under the National Health Misson and build their leadership capacity so that excluded communities especially women can demand their health rights. Health service providers and other functionaries have been oriented on the issue of social exclusion in health.
The initiative has helped build the perspective of socially excluded communities on health rights and move the advocacy beyond issues of atrocities to include health rights issues. Inputs from CHSJ have enabled the community and local partners to identify and articulate social exclusion as it plays out in the availability, acceptability and quality of health services. At the local level, the partners have highlighted health concerns of socially excluded communities and have served as a pressure group to influence local health functionaries and governance bodies such as VHSNCs. At the state level, CHSJ linked partners to ongoing health campaigns such as the MHRC where they have been able to raise the concerns of the socially excluded. They have also been able to provide evidence on social exclusion in the form of case stories, CBM data and testimonies. Thus, the combination of inputs from CHSJ in perspective building on social exclusion and health and providing skills on community enquiry and advocacy have strengthened local communities’ understanding of health rights, as well as helped raise the issue of social exclusion in health campaigns supported by evidence and experience.
Standing up for Dalit Children in an Anganwadi With concerted efforts of the Health Action Group (HAG) members, caste based discrimination was addressed in Lendagondhi and Bhilai villages in Multai block, Betul District of Madhya Pradesh. The anganwadi worker and assistant were discriminating with dalit children, forcing them to wash utensils while upper caste children were not made to wash the dishes. Women members of the HAG, which comprised mixed castes, took up the issue and confronted the anganwadi worker, who gave in to the pressure and stopped the discriminating practice