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Health

Delivering  Quality Health Care 

SWRC/Barefoot College Tilonia works with Barefoot-trained doctors, dentists, pathologists, health workers and midwives who combine traditional practices with modern science and technology to improve health in rural communities. We raise awareness of topics such as hygiene, nutrition, contraception, menstruation and reproductive health, immunisation and HIV prevention.

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In the 1970s, SWRC/Barefoot College Tilonia aimed to improve the poor health of Tilonia’s rural communities (which came in part from superstitious beliefs about health care) with the first of its Outreach Programmes. In these, social workers and Barefoot staff, which included a doctor, visited villages to talk with people about health and how to improve it. The dialogue evolved into a lasting relationship with villagers. Our first medical campaign identified tuberculosis patients and helped them get treatment. Later, in the 1980s, Barefoot College trained traditional midwives in modern methods so that they could become change agents for improving health and hygiene. This resulted in a dramatic drop in mother-and-child mortality rates. The model became the basis of the midwifery component of the Government’s [of Rajasthan? of India?] Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) programme. 

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SWRC/Barefoot College Tilonia runs two main health programmes.   

Diagnostic Care
SWRC/Barefoot College Tilonia provides rural communities with diagnostic care through its Health Department, located in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India. Its infrastructure includes an outpatient department, an admission facility with ten hospital beds, a dental clinic with all the necessary facilities, a pharmacy and a pathology laboratory. Staffed by three Barefoot doctors, one Barefoot nurse, two Barefoot pathologists and one Barefoot dentist, it provides services such as general diagnostics, dental check-ups, homeopathic care and pathology tests. Through these the Barefoot College Health Department provides essential medical care to rural communities, improving their overall health and wellbeing.

 Preventive Care

Barefoot College plays a crucial and proactive role in preventive care, giving particular emphasis to women's health. Through a number of programmes and initiatives [is there a difference between these?] that offer education and training in menstrual hygiene, the reproductive system, ante- and post-natal care and nutrition, rural women have been empowered to make informed decisions about their health.

In addition, to give rural people access to affordable products, Barefoot College has set up units for making sanitary napkins and “Super 5” (a local nutritional product that we have revived). Both units are run by trained women from “last mile” communities. And by training daimas (local midwives), balsevikas (child-carers), ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) and ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse and Midwives), Barefoot College has established a trusted and effective network of grassroots health workers serving the villages around Tilonia.

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Diagnostic and Preventive Care

SWRC/Barefoot College Tilonia’s Diagnostic Care Programme includes basic dentistry, check-ups and treatment for villagers given by our Barefoot doctors. Barefoot pathologists support the dentists and doctors by conducting medical tests when necessary. 

Our Preventive Care Programme is pro-active in raising community awareness in respect of menstrual and reproductive health, antenatal and post-natal care and nutrition, as well as giving practical help. 

Our Initiatives

Barefoot College offers comprehensive healthcare to underserved communities, training local healthcare professionals and organizing medical camps. we promote menstrual and reproductive health awareness, prioritize antenatal and postnatal care, and educate on nutrition, leading to significant improvements in community health outcomes.

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Dental Care, the Pathology Laboratory, Medical Camps

Providing quality health care to under-served communities, Barefoot College has trained Barefoot dentists, pathologists and doctors. The dental team offers regular check-ups and treatment to local children and adults, pathologists conduct blood and urine tests and doctors diagnose illnesses. Medical camps offer further support.
Read More: When patients need more advanced treatment than the College can provide, Barefoot doctors refer patients on to other professionals. Additionally, Barefoot College organizes monthly medical camps – eye camps, for example – with certified doctors. 
These inputs have enabled Barefoot College to make significant improvements in the health and well-being of communities in need.

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Menstrual and Reproductive Health Awareness

Through interactive tools such as games and storytelling, our health workers provide information about menstrual and reproductive health and hygiene [Including contraception?]. At the same time they encourage open discussion, to break the culture of silence about women’s bodies. 
Read More: With the understanding this gives them, girls and women increase their chances of exercising their sexual and reproductive health rights, and are armed with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their own health.

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Antenatal and Postnatal Care

To raise awareness of the value of antenatal and postnatal care, our grassroots health workers work tirelessly to monitor pregnant women and ensure they receive the attention they need both during and after their pregnancies. 
Read more: So that the women do not miss out on their check-ups, SWRC/Barefoot College Tilonia sends them reminders through text messages, interactive voice response messages, or whatever forms of communication work. In addition, College health staff spread awareness of good dietary practice in pregnancy and advise on nutrition. If women need to visit health centres and hospitals for more advanced medical care, our health workers tell them so and help them do it. 
In the communities with which we work Barefoot College’s efforts have helped to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates significantly.

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Nutrition

SWRC/Barefoot College Tilonia works hard in rural India to spread understanding of what good nutrition means. Ours is a multi-pronged approach to tackling malnutrition that includes tests for anaemia and advising people on foods for a healthy diet. 
Read more: We begin with regular haemoglobin testing to detect and address cases of anaemia, which is prevalent in the region. To promote a balanced diet, Barefoot College concentrates on reviving local nutritional products and making them more readily available within the communities we serve. We work in schools with children as well as with village women to help them understand the nature of eating healthily: its importance, what a healthy diet actually is, and how locally-raised foods can be incorporated into meals. Through the efforts of our health staff, Barefoot College has been successful in reducing cases of anaemia and improving the overall health of our communities. 

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