Further to the camp Handimachal conducted in Spiti valley in October, it was decided we would conduct a Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) training for local volunteers from Spiti.
As explained by Prof. Vikram Patel, Community-Based Rehabilitation comes from the idea of task shifting in global health.
“The idea is actually quite simple. The idea is, when you're short of specialized health care professionals, use whoever is available in the community, train them to provide a range of health care interventions. For me, what's truly sundar (attractive) about the idea of task shifting, though, isn't that it simply makes health care more accessible and affordable but that it is also fundamentally empowering. It empowers ordinary people to be more effective in caring for the health of others in their community, and in doing so, to become better guardians of their own health. Indeed, for me, task shifting is the ultimate example of the democratization of medical knowledge, and therefore, medical power”.
The idea is actually quite simple. The idea is, when you're short of specialized health care professionals, use whoever is available in the community, train them to provide a range of health care interventions.
So, four amazing women from Spiti were here at Handimachal this month to learn about disability and its management, and work as catalysts for change in their community.
A three-week long training was conducted at our Kullu centre. A model of training which was used to train the Kullu CBR agents two years ago was adapted to the needs of Spiti. The Hindi version of “Disabled Village Children - A manual for community health workers, rehabilitation workers and family” (by David Warner) was used mainly as a reference guide for the training.
What made this training an enriching learning experience for us is that our students were ever curious and eager to know more and understand better. There were eager to put the learning in practice. In the field of special needs, one training or degree is not enough. One needs to have passion, empathy and sense of service, which these women had plenty of.
In one of the lectures, when we were discussing the causes of Cerebral Palsy and I mentioned that we do not know, in 20% of cases, its cause, Cheering said that these 20% could be due to past life karma. And then Karma said that if it is the person’s past life karma which caused the disability, we can help that person manage the disability and increase our own Karma. What perspective!
Our Physiotherapists, Rekha and Rama, and our Special Educator, Shakuntla, took a lead in giving lectures. They worked hard to plan lectures which would be interesting. Our CBR team presented case studies and I was motherly proud to see them doing those presentations.
During the presentation by Kullu CBR agents, in particular while listing the patients’ cases, the women students became confident that they too can become agents of change in their community.
The training was concluded by an exam and a skit demonstration by the women. They even made a song in Spiti language (see video below). They were awarded certificates for the training they followed.
Empowering these women to be able to be agents of change and guiding them to push back the barriers of disability in Spiti has been an enriching experience for Handimachal.
We are thankful for this opportunity, which is also strengthening our motivation to do better.
Shruti More, occupational therapist
The video may be fuzzy at times, but voices and intentions are clear !
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