Skye Nolan

Skye Nolan

My Career   I am currently working at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Working closely with doctors, nurses and patients, I coordinate a range of clinical trials aimed at improving outcomes for oncology patients by improving treatments. Prior to commencing at Peter Mac, I was working as […]

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CRHP in Action: Visiting a Project Village

CRHP in Action: Visiting a Project Village

By on February 2, 2014 in CRHP Jamkhed with 1 Comment

A few days ago we visited the village of Sharadwadi, which has a population of about 900. CRHP programmes have been run in this village for 13 years, but they are maintained by the community. This visit gave us the opportunity to see the local village health worker (VHW) in action as she showed us around the village explaining and demonstrating the work that she does.

Regular health monitoring for older villagers is a one of the VHW responsibilities.

Regular health monitoring for older villagers is a one of the VHW responsibilities.

Regular Health Checks for Older Villagers

We started by visiting a house where the VHW took the blood pressure of the husband, wife and mother-in-law. It is the job of the VHW to regularly check the blood pressure of any person over the age of 40, and refer those with high blood pressure to a doctor for treatment. She keeps a record of the blood pressure measurements, and makes sure she visits those with known high blood pressure to ensure they are taking their medications.

Open Discussion of Gender and Social Issues

We then gathered with a group of girls and women in a public space which had a floor and roof, but was open with no walls. These groups are designed so that the VHW can talk to the girls and women about social issues – the topic of the day was early marriage.

In India, many girls are married as young as 10 even though it is illegal before the age of 18, and parents can face a fine or imprisonment for marrying children before they reach this age. The VHW told a short story with the aid of a picture book to explain this to the women and children.

The children were especially excited to have our group present at the session, and at the conclusion of the story they asked us at what age we marry in Australia. When we replied that we didn’t plan to marry until the age of 30, the women and children looked shocked and then burst into laughter!

Prenatal care and Midwifery

Our last stop with the VHW was at the house of a pregnant woman who was due to give birth the following day. The VHW took the woman’s blood pressure, checked her eyes for signs of anaemia and her ankles for swelling. She then examined the woman’s stomach and listened to the baby’s heartbeat through a stethoscope. The mother-to-be also had a chance to listen, and her face just lit up when she heard the heartbeat.

The VHW then felt the woman’s stomach to ascertain the position of the baby by feeling for the baby’s head. She told us that delivery would be in four of five days and that the delivery would be performed in the woman’s house by the VHW.

Even from our short visit, the high level of knowledge and skill of the VHW was evident. It was also clear that she was respected in her community, and people trusted her advice on both medical and social topics. Having spent a lot of time learning about the role of the VHW, it was so good to see first-hand the care she provides her community.

1 Reader Comment

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  1. Louise says:

    So cool you are doing something different every week.

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