The Centre for Community and Rural Health Management in NISWASS was started in 1992 with an emphasis on providing community based primary health care in Kandhamal district. It makes provision for community based sustainable primary health care facility and family welfare services including reproductive health care in the region. The Centre alongside the aforementioned 10-Bedded Hospital is located at 3300 ft above sea level in a remote, inaccessible and tribal area of the district. It directly serves a population of 37,000, spread out in 103 villages of Daringbadi block of Kondhmal district primarily constituting the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (about 82% of the total population that the centre serves are SCs and STs). The Centre has direct linkages with government medical facilities of the Block, Sub-Division and District level Hospitals and other medical institutions of the District. Further, it has links with the nearby medical college and thus strengthens referral services in the region.
In the context of prevailing rootless, jobless, voiceless and futureless growth we had to take resort of community model of growth, which we found, can be shaped to be sustainable. Albert Bandura, a famous psychologist emphatically states, “People strive to exercise control over events that affect their lives.” Thus, some enterprises sprout naturally and spontaneously. In fact we found them as empowering motivations leading to intellectual creativity. We only need to catalyse then with fresh ideas and inputs to strengthen their solidarity and unity,
which cement their relationships, efforts and strength. In this backdrop, NISWASS signed an MoU with Navajyoti Producers Company, Nuagada, which like a cooperative, has been extending supervisory and facilitation support in terms of community banking, credit union, value additions and marketing of the community products, handholding, making social audits, and impact studies. This venture also has helped to have a venue for training of NISWASS students from South Campus. During the current year, we have the programmes to replicate the experiment for a larger network of grassroot organisations in other districts of the State. In promoting the community enterprise systems, we are aware of the pitfalls of the Self-Help Groups as pointed out by experts, which runs as follows: “Almost everywhere the same dilemma occured – the actual target group, the poorest of the poor, could not be reached by the self-help promotion instruments.” Hence, the assetless poorest of the poor are going
to be our next target.