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Herbal health and community empowerment.

Natural forest provides an enormous range of indigenous medicinal plants that are used by the communities inhabiting forest areas. With the demand on medicinal plants on the rise, due to commercialization, their availability in nature has subsequently gone down. Important species of medicinal plants in many parts have become endangered due to their premature and over harvesting by collectors and harvesters for its commercial use and the subsequent degradation of their natural habitat. Local availability of medicinal plants resources and the traditional knowledge is both under threat due to market demands and acculturation among the indigenous communities.

The impact of this project is an outcome of 10 years efforts by the organisation, “PHOOLEEN”, in Jharkhand State. The project area is afflicted by the lack of Government healthcare facilities. In absence of the above, traditional medicine plays important role in mitigation of health care requirements of poor. But even amongst the community, there has been a trend towards ignoring the need for biodiversity conservation, of traditional knowledge systems and abilities of traditional herbal practitioners/ healers.

This project implementation in 60 villages of Deogar District in Jharkhand State” is an attempt to understand the traditional medicinal knowledge systems existing in the region and their revitalization, through a series of intervention. In this project, efforts have been made to put in place conservation practices for promoting the sustainable utilization of forest-based products. Local communities are being promoted to experiment at their own level for exploring the efficacy of various medicines, before administering them on large scale. The communities in the area, particularly women groups have developed small kitchen gardens and nurseries of rare medicinal plants, not commonly found in the forest area. They are also encouraged to cultivate agro herb-forestry as a concept outside the forest. These efforts of the communities will go a long way in preserving the traditional herbal medicine in the area.

Under the project, various means of communication and local awareness generation were adopted to sensitise and involve local communities in better utilization and management of biodiversity found in the area. Development of biodiversity, documentation of flora wealth, with active participation of herbal practitioners is an ongoing initiative.

The project aims to present the initiatives of the herbal practitioners and the role of the organisation in the conservation of traditional medicines and its knowledge. It also tried to explore the efforts of all stakeholders for the revival of traditional plant based knowledge system and its development through nurturance. It further looked deeply into how these efforts of biodiversity conservation could open the gateway for small scale enterprise development from medicinal plants to reap benefits for the communities through appropriate sharing mechanism.

The major objectives of the project are as follows:
  • capacitating stake holders on function of Federation of CBOs, SHGs, Herbal practitioners & Dais Association, PRI representatives specially the women and ensure their active involvement in all-round development.
  • Reduction in mortality, disease through herbal based home remedies, promoting institutional linkages and ensures better health status of families in project villages.
  • Improving skill, Knowledge and capacity of the farmers through training and required inputs towards increase in agro-Herb production in villages of the target area.
  • Development and maintenance of herbal nursery in 4 acres of land for production of fruit, fuel, fodder, Timber , herbal plants, seeds and seedling to distribute families in project villages.
  • Facilitation for issue based lobbying, advocacy, networking with the organizations, institutions and departments to bridge the gap of access to rights and responsiveness of the state.
  • A state level Federation of trained herbal practitioners & Traditional Birth attendants. Reproductive & Child health Programme.

PHOOLEEN Mahila Chetna Vikash Kendra got recognized as mother NGO under ministry of health & family welfare Govt. of India for Reproductive and Child Health programme in Deoghar District of Jharkhand in the year 2003-04. Its successfully implemented 2 years project supported by the aforesaid Ministry. The organization worked with 4 field level NGOs of the District to cover 40000 un-served and under Served population of the block Madhupur, Karon, Devipur, and Mohanpur.

  • The Objectives of the RCH Program are:
  • Awareness and sensitization on Mother & Child Care, and adolescent health practices.
  • Promoting Antenatal and post natal care, routine immunisation, growth monitoring.
  • Promoting family planning measures through eligible couple counselling.
  • Sensitization on care and prevention for water and vector born diseases.
  • tion coverage among pregnant women.
  • 80% Immunization coverage among babies under 0-1 year.
  • 70% adoption of family planning measures amongst Eligible Couples.
  • 90% safe Delivery at home.
  • 80% Utilization of spacing method

Being an MNGO, PHOOLEEN implemented IEC Scheme (ISM&H) under the support of (AYUSH) Ministry of Health and Family welfare GOI. During the year 2007-08 PHOOLEEN implemented the project through its field NGO JAY Vasundhara in Mohanpur Block of Deoghar District. The following activities were organised at the project Block.

    Participation in Melas and organized health camps
  • Community Awareness Meetings.
  • Organized demonstration of Yoga in primary classes.
  • Cultivated medicinal plants in rural/tribal areas.
Combating Malnutrition project.

40% of population in Jharkhand are living below the poverty line. Women in addition to suffering from several heath problems, suffer from gender inequalities. Women are doubly affected by malnutrition, due to high nutritional requirements and consequences of gender inequality. Under nutrition and over nutrition coexist in developing countries undergoing rapid nutrition transition, and women are susceptible to this double burden of "dysnutrition," often cumulating stunting or micronutrient malnutrition with obesity or other nutrition-related chronic diseases.

The Mortality rate of Jharkhand is 13.12 per thousand whereas Child Mortality is 92 per thousand.
The Rural Child Mortality is 93.2 per thousand and Urban Child mortality rate is 63.7 per thousand.
58,000 children die every year without proper Medical care in Jharkhand.
Three fourth of women suffer from anaemia, a prevalence level much higher than National average of 52%
4 out of 10 women in Jharkhand are undernourished.

The above highlighted statement reflects the poor state of Health of Women and Children in Jharkhand. Several studies have directly linked the state of health of mothers to malnutrition, nutritional anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies. This huge gap between the service providers (Health Department and Integrated Child Development Scheme)) and the beneficiaries/communities are due to the lack of awareness about nutrition, lack of access to food, low purchasing power, low literacy, lack of community based initiatives and focus on nutrition and health. The pregnant and lactating mothers are in need of high nutritional requirement as they are nurturing two persons: herself and the new baby.

On deeper analysis of the problem, Malnutrition is found to be of intergenerational nature. This means that nutritional status of mother has direct effect on that of her child and even her grandchildren. Women and girls are especially affected by malnutrition during the life cycle and from one generation to the next as they give birth to the babies. Women, in general, have smaller stores of iron than men and have increased loss through menstruation, placing them at higher risk for nutritional anaemia. As women and girls are the primary care givers, they need to be in good health and nutritional status to perform their duties properly.

Therefore health of a new born baby depends on health and nutrition of his/her mother, and on her development when she was a girl. Therefore programs aiming to reduce prevalence of malnutrition should focus on nutritional status of the infant, the adolescent, the mother and the grandmother.

Boys and girls, men and women are all at risk of anaemia. Anaemia has severe effects on health and well- being - some are irreversible - including mental retardation and poor school performance; tiredness and poor ability to do labour, sports, and other physical activities; reduced capacity, increased illness, greater risk of death of women during maternity and birth; low birth weight and premature births…

The envisioned project intervenes to minimise adverse impact of income and gender inequities on women's nutritional health and the dramatic consequences, not only for women themselves, but for children, families and societies. Improving women’s resources, including health, nutrition, education and decision making is critical for equality and for health of children and adults of future generations, since poor fetal and infancy nutrition is another risk factor for chronic diseases, in particular abdominal obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Focusing on women along the lifecycle, according to the continuum of care approach, is essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty, malnutrition, and ill-health.

The objectives & Activities of the project are as follows:
  • Community based approaches to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition, nutritional anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies using the life cycle approach amongst the Adolescent, Pregnant and Lactating Elderly Women and Children.
  • Raising awareness on prevention, identification and rehabilitation of people suffering from malnutrition, nutritional anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies amongst the beneficiaries.
  • Promoting a community based initiative led by women and community leaders/Panchayat leaders to monitor the Nutrition related situation in the project area and initiate community based measures to combat the problems by highlighting positive deviance in Early Childhood Care.
  • Educating and motivating the community people and Service Providers (Health Department and Integrated Child Development Programme) for adopting various culture specific Behaviour Change Communication and Case Management strategies.
  • Empowering the women in decision making within their families and communities by forming a network of Women on Nutritional health to organise them under a single umbrella for better nutritional health and other development related empowerment.
  • Promoting concept of Kitchen Garden as viable means of providing Food security for specifically families living below Poverty line.


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