The community health programme is an integral component of the holistic development programme. Poor health care facilities being an important rural problem, BAIF has initiated promotion of safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, primary medical care, revival of traditional systems of medicine, awareness, reproductive and child health, family welfare and combating malnutrition in the project areas.

The major activities include promotion of good health practices on safe drinking water, clean home and kitchen package, waste water disposal, improved nutrition through kitchen COMMUNITY HEALTH garden, herbal garden, cultivation and use of medicinal plants, hygiene and sanitation. 46 water purification units were installed in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, with the support of Planet Water Foundation, USA, benefitting over 28,000 people.

Trained local volunteers selected from Communitybased Organisations, have been working as health guides and community health facilitators to implement health activities and creation of awareness.

The Nature Cure Ashram at Urulikanchan imparted training to traditional health practitioners and health workers of Maharashtra and Gujarat to consolidate the indigenous knowledge and best practices to support primary health services in remote areas. Over 200 Charak Centres (health centres) have been established by them. The local school at Bhadrapada, documented more than 100 medicinal plants found in Dangs forest and developed a pilot herbarium.

The Sure Start Project in Balrampur and Baharaich districts of Uttar Pradesh covered training of village volunteers popularly known as Asha on related topics who in turn provided inputs on reproductive and child health care to mothers' groups and village health and sanitation committees. A project for Tharu community is being implemented in 15 villages of Sharvasti district of Uttar Pradesh, for documentation of traditional health practices.

The mental health problems of 300 villagers were successfully addressed in Surat, Bharuch and Dangs districts of Gujarat with the help of trained local volunteers. A manual on "Mental health" has also been produced in Gujarati, Marathi and Hindi.

55 youth from tribal families were sent for various short-term vocational courses to learn various skills. The Girls Gain Ground Project covered 2000 adolescent girls in Jawhar, Thane district and Peint, Nashik district for creating awareness on women's health.

Computer literacy, sewing and goat keeping, were introduced to adolescent girls. Career guidance training was organised for students of Standard X to enlighten them about various options of higher education and career paths. 622 students from 16 ashram schools were benefitted. Environment Education with special focus on eco-system is being implemented in 5 selected Ashram Schools. Audio-visual communication material such as posters on kitchen garden, clean kitchen and anaemia and manuals and posters on safe drinking water were developed and provided to selected schools to link curriculum with field activities.

A Health workshop was organised on October 21-22 for field workers on contagious diseases, body mapping, introduction of internal body parts and Body Mass Index (BMI). A regional workshop was conducted for Shikshan Mitra Programme Staff with focus on teachinglearning process and linking curriculum with field activities.

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Nisargopachar Ashram

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