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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Demystifying Medicine: Bringing Medical Knowledge Into Communities

Demystifying Medicine: Bringing Medical Knowledge Into Communities

By on January 26, 2014 in CRHP Jamkhed with 1 Comment
Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
Martin Luther King Jr.

The notion of demystifying medicine refers to providing basic medical knowledge and training to local people so that they can then provide health care in their communities.

National Library of Medicine. “Go to the country side to serve the 500 million peasants, 1965.” Chinese Public Health Posters.

National Library of Medicine. “Go to the country side to serve the 500 million peasants, 1965.” Chinese Public Health Posters.

The Barefoot Doctors of China

In 1968, the Mao government of China recruited about one million farmers, provided them with six months medical training and then sent back to their villages to provide health care. These farmers usually worked barefoot in the fields, and so gained the name “barefoot doctors”. This approach to global health challenges has proved successful in resource-poor settings, and is used by the CRHP.

The Village Health Workers of CRHP

In each village where CRHP operates, a female is chosen by the community to become a village health worker. This woman receives health education and training from CRHP staff which she can then use to provide health care in her community.

Training covers a range of topics such as family planning, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, leprosy, tuberculosis, malnutrition and diabetes. The training is ongoing, and all the village health workers come to the main CRHP campus on each Thursday to stay the night and attend a training session the next day.

Village Health Workers are chosen by their communities

Village Health Workers are chosen by their communities

A Different Approach to Teaching

Yesterday morning, we were able to sit in on one of these sessions which was focused on the topic of HIV/AIDS. It was really interesting to observe the different teaching methods used.

Many of the village health workers are illiterate so no notes are given or taken during the session. Instead, the women learn through song, role play and discussion. There is an emphasis on sharing of experiences and the sessions are kept short so that the women can retain the what they have learnt and use it in their work in the villages.

To understand the ways in which the CRHP program can change lives, read this profile of Sophia Aabbas Pathan, a Village Health Worker from Patoda, a small village of 1500 people, about 30 kilometres from Jamkhed.

The Practical Challenge

Being here at CRHP has really challenged me to think in a different way. Learning in a university lecture or tutorial focuses on theories, concepts and examples and discussion is often filled with complex language and abstract thoughts.

Here we are challenged to bring everything back to basics, to think in a practical rather than conceptual way. It’s been great to be able to step out of the classroom, and experience first-hand how the theories and concepts I have learned translate into “real life” situations.

1 Reader Comment

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  1. Chamera Withanage says:

    This is really interesting work. I quite like how complex and important issues such as HIV/AIDS are being communicated in a effective way using the tools and methods best understood by the community already.

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