There are several factors that contribute to maintaining good health. By good health, we mean both physical and mental health. Which is largely disconnected in today’s world. We fail to understand how physical health can lead to increased risk of developing mental health problems and vice versa. The challenge is to approach health holistically and break the notion of physical and mental health as separate problems.
The ‘Health & Nutrition’ programme works closely with the indigenous communities of the NBR. The team visited two programme areas, Pillur and Nilambur to conduct meetings with women in the communities on menstrual hygiene, a topic that is not often discussed. At both the meetings, women ranging from 17-40 years of age were present. In rural areas, dialogues on menstrual health, stems out of taboo.This meeting paved the way for the women to speak freely to obtain advice on menstrual hygiene. The team advised them on hygiene practices that should be followed. The participants raised the issues of lack of access to menstrual hygiene, a problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, these products are likely to become costlier with the imposition of a new tax on the same.
The team also conducted training in Nilambur on mental health for five ‘nalam’ workers, otherwise known as volunteers of the health programme. They were taught how to handle or identify such problems if it prevails in their community and the means through which it could be dealt with. The team imparted knowledge about how food plays an important role in the prevention of mental health problems. The programme continues to provide nutritional support by providing Ragi and urges the community to pay heed to what they feed the ailing. To take it forward, a series of meetings with the same agenda is to be held in the coming months.
Rural healthcare is one of the biggest challenges faced in our country with over 70 percent of the population living in rural areas. Keystone Foundation through this programme wishes to improve the accessibility and quality of health care for the indigenous communities in the NBR.