Senapati district in Manipur is known for its lush green valleys, deep gorges and crystal clear rivers. However, the flip side to its idyllic beauty is the difficult daily lives of its inhabitants, who have to trudge several kilometres until they can access even the most basic of facilities. Even with one Community Health Center and two Primary Health Centers in the Mao block of Senapati district, the difficult terrain makes it difficult for the population of 41,000 people across 26 villages to access health care. Conducting awareness campaigns and encouraging patients to access healthcare facilities in itself is a huge challenge.
While in big cities, several private enterprises support government’s TB program, Senapati region with a forest cover was often overlooked. This is when J.V. Gokal Charity Trust (JVGCT), NGO based in Maharashtra, decided to intervene.
In partnership with a local NGO InTOUCH, JVGCT had been operating an affordable Healthcare Center, InTOUCH Health Science Centre, at Mao village in Senapati district. Through this center, Doctors’ consultation and medicines along with diagnostic services are provided at highly subsidized cost to beneficiaries. In the year 2018, JVGCT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with District TB Officer, Senapati District to start a Designated Microscopy Centre (DMC) cum DOTS Centre at their existing health center. The MoU established JVGCT’s clinic as a public-private partnership model with all the consumables like drugs and diagnostics for TB being supplied by the government including management of MDR TB cases. At present, the clinic is serving 10 villages in and around Mao in the area of TB awareness, active case detection, diagnosis, providing counselling to TB patients, treatment, nutrition (protein powder supplement), etc.
After becoming a CTP member, JVGCT has adopted statement of commitment for stigma free work place. JVGCT is also being supported for standardization of data collection and with IEC material. JVGCT’s future plans include expanding the reach to include another 10 villages by appointing additional volunteers with fixed honorarium. To address the stigma and increase knowledge levels, JVGCT plans to engage with religious leaders, Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members, frontline health workers (ASHAs, ANMs, anganwadi workers) and beneficiaries of anganwadis to deepen community engagement at all the villages.
On an average more than 10 presumptive cases are screened every month at DMC since its inception. This has led to increased case notification from the area as well as increased knowledge levels about the disease. The outreach work has also led to reduced stigma around TB in the community.