Fluoride Fellows, Connecting the Dots
You and me; we are no supermen, we are Clark Kent in the waiting; superman wannabes wanting to put superhuman efforts for super human problems of the Fluoride affected
Fluorosis is an alarming health problem that does not even figure in the top 20 of the country’s health priorities.
With more than 10 million people standing to face disability and other serious health problems because of high fluoride in their water across 22 States and 200 districts of India, it’s hard to understand the reason why?
The problem has been continuously widening its spread and taking over newer territories in the country as we speak. more here
There is need for more concerted work on this issue; and a need for some hard evidences to come out. These evidences could be a first level of engagement that can inspire governments to get their act together in many places.
There’s been examples already of good work having been carried out in our country that has led to positive impact, K. Subhash and his crusade to mobilize people on Fluorosis in Nalgonda,
Dharani Saikya from Assam along with Retired Chief Engineer, PHED in assam and their systemic approach in Tapatjuri, Nagaon, Assam. Sachin Vani, Arvind Singh Prajapati and Kalpana from INREM in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh and their unflinching support in helping communities through a good food and safe water approach.
But these efforts have been limited; they need to spread more, the capacity to intervene and its penetration needs to expand.
The Fluoride Fellows program has been conceived keeping these things in mind;
The Fluoride Fellows are a mix of individuals from different regions who would be travelling all around the country, facilitating local groups to work on the issue
Imagine the impact this could have … making a child to walk again, reducing Anemia in mothers. These are things we’ve already seen happening.
If these can be demonstrated well they could lead to a lot of focus coming in and visibility for the problem with intent from the government.
An excellent concept that’s come out of the Fellowship program is the safe water learning cards that will be made use of extensively to teach others what can be done.
Some initial activities in this program have already begun and have started to show impact
A first Fluoride Fellows outreach to another state happened from July 16–20th of this month with fluoride fellows from Nalgonda visiting Balasore in Orissa, initiating first efforts along with local NGO; RCDC on government’s newly created District Fluoride Mitigation Commitee.
The Fluoride Fellows from Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh visited Aajeevika Bureau’s Public Health Centre’s Facilitation program with the Health department in Rajasthan and are trying to facilitate PHC’s to work better on Fluorosis.
The MP Fluoride fellows have also visited Chhindwara in MP and interacted with the District administration there to understand the impact of Fluorosis and see what can be done.
The two Fluoride Fellows from Karnataka made a field visit to Bagepalli Taluk, Chikballapur district in the state recently, interacted with National program for prevention and control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) and came up with afirst hand account of the situation there
These are clear examples of extensive facilitation taking place by the Fluoride Fellows in places where there is a need.
In the coming months the fluoride fellow from Assam Daharani Saikya will be travelling over to Bihar to facillitate the local group there; Meghh Pyne Abihyan who have been busy with field visits to asses the fluoride impact there, with a first such impact study in Jamui having already taken place.
Fluoride fellow from Nalgonda are going to be in Korba which is reporting many Fluorosis cases for their second visit,
This kind of networking is sure to build a lot of confidence in people and organisations working everywhere and give the issue a sustainable focus.
The idea is to embed these fellows in different institutions so that these institutions are able to benefit as well.
We’re hoping that in coming times the efforts that the fluoride fellows put in combined with the local organisation’s facillitation reduces the impact of this difficult problem.
Blog Courtesy: Vikas Ratanjee, Fluoride India Medium