Healthcare facilities has always been a prior importance for human civilization. Still many rural parts are under developed and lack proper medical remedial. Many government and non government organisation have taken initiative to bring change in healthcare frontiers.
One among them is an integrated healthcare initiative floated by a group of US-based Indian-origin professionals in Agiya, a backward village in north-western Gujarat, holds out the promise of being replicated as a template for small-scale, local community healthcare interventions across rural India.
Initiated by a non-profit organisation — Wheels Global Foundation – run by a clutch of IIT alumnus and aided by netbooks supplied earlier this year by an IIT Bombay team, the Agiya project has a three-pronged objective — operationalising a reverse osmosis-based clean drinking water plant in a village in 26 districts of Gujarat, constructing 100 toilets in these villages and simultaneously training volunteers under a project called ‘Sevak’ that aims at providing health monitoring and early intervention.
Instituted in 2010, the Sevak project — an acronym for sanitation and health education in village communities through improved awareness and knowledge of prevention/management of diseases and health promotion project — aims at developing a team of volunteers to monitor the general health of the population in villages such as Agiya across these 26 districts.
The volunteers — or ‘sevaks’ as they were called — were found to be doing the entire survey in longhand, entering data manually and then laboriously writing reports to be sent to the coordinators by post. The group needed an inexpensive computing device that would be programmed to report health data in the spreadsheet format under the project so that they could also develop spreadsheets on specific interventions such as the households with toilets, consumption of clean water from the reverse osmosis plant, and thereby use the project to correlate between the reduction of communicable diseases with the increased consumption of pure water and the use of toilets.
“Prior to the training and subsequent use of the notebooks, the Sevaks were doing everything longhand, laboriously writing everything and then send that off to the coordinators by snail mail. The use of the Notebooks using the FOSSEE equivalent of Excel has made their life easy,” said Ruyintan E Mehta, an IIT-Bombay alumnus – a 1970 batch chemical engineering graduate – and a US-based serial entrepreneur in the plastics industry, who is part of the team that conceptualised and rolled out the ‘Sevak’ project. The IIT Bombay team, which earlier this year developed the $100 netbook, has handed out 32 of these devices equipped with early-stage open source technology to the healthcare volunteers.