A group of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) postgraduates and like-minded health professionals shared a common interest – to change the health situation in a region in rural India characterised by extreme poverty, with no access to the most basic care.
In 1999, they settled down in the eastern part of Madhya Pradesh, in Bilaspur district (now in Chhattisgarh), which predominantly had tribal and backward communities.
They decided to develop a low-cost, high quality, community-based, health care system that would be readily accessible to the rural poor and a model for the delivery of care in low-resource settings.
Thus, Jan Swasthya Sahyog (JSS) started functioning in 1999, in Ganiyari village.
• To address the inequality in rural health care with an equal focus on preventive measures and health education.
• To evolve low-cost technology for providing appropriate, rational and inexpensive healthcare facilities.
• To provide accessible, affordable, acceptable, quality-oriented, sustainable and credible services.
To cater to the needs of rural folks, JSS team members designed technologies after understanding the people’s conditions, requirements, limitations, illiteracy levels, accessibility, etc.
JSS’s mantra to success is to demystify healthcare technology and re-cast old ideas and techniques. They designed and developed grassroots technology, and the distribution process was decentralised to reach the technology to the poor, through the village health worker. Adaptable and diagnostic technologies are introduced to health workers, clinical, community level and public health services.
With a strength of over 200 people comprising of physicians, nurses, lab technicians, field program officers, trainers and support staff, JSS has emerged as a centre for good quality, low cost, comprehensive medical, surgical and obstetric care in the region. JSS’s team is driven by one strong force which is `compassion for the poor’.
Some of the products developed for the grassroots users and community health workers comprise diagnostic kits for urinary infections, pneumonia; a prevention kit for diarrhoea outbreaks with a detection device for faecal contamination of drinking water and modular kits for a safe delivery and postnatal care of the mother and child.
A village First Aid kit with around thirty items – including bamboo splints for fractures, a peripheral blood smear making slide kit box, an easy-to-read thermometer and a few disposable injection syringes.
Another one is a kangaroo jacket serving as an incubator for premature babies, wherein locally available palm oil is filled in the jacket.
Other simplified devices are a gel electrophoresis device for detecting sickle cell anaemia, a technique for detecting haemoglobin, breath counter, portable stadiometer, spacer device, teaching stethoscope, UV light based steel drum for disinfecting water, interactive voice recorder (IVR) system for the patients residing in the interiors, etc.
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The services of Jan Swasthya Sahyog has helped tribal, migrant labourers and Dalits numbering around eighteen lakh people of 3000 villages in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. They have received home-based care for all chronic illnesses. The antennal clinics for mother and crèche program for children below three years of age have helped the community improve their nutrition and significantly reduce malnourishment.
The inpatient services with 90 beds and an operation theatre complex at JSS has provided surgical services to more than 32,000 patients. Over 20,000 in-patients have been treated for serious illnesses.
An audio-visual program ‘Hospital talks to its people’, sensitises patients during their waiting period on matters related to basic health, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, preventive measures for animal/insects bites, injury due to tree falls, electrocution, lightning strikes, drowning, etc.
And if you wanted a career with them, you should know that JSS offers a three-year Diplomate National Board in Family Medicine course, which is recognised by the National Board of Examinations (NBE). Medical residents are trained in general and emergency aspects of medicine, surgery, paediatrics, and obstetrics & gynaecology.
They are also taught about the intersection of illness and poverty, and they regularly engage in community health projects that seek to address some of the underlying issues of ill health. This has helped in community involvement and empowering the young.
Recently, on 28th October 2017, the Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Application of Science and Technology for Rural Development was conferred on Jan Swasthya Sahyog.
Jan Swasthya Sahyog
Village and P.O. Ganiyari
Bilaspur – 495 112
M: +91 9425530357; +91 9589402995
T: +91-7753-244819; +91-7752-270143