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Training Auxiliary Nurses and Midwives - Bringing Healthcare to India’s Rural Villages

India's rural population, especially women, face twin challenges of unemployment and inadequate health care.

There is a dire shortage of trained health care workers in India, especially in rural areas where healthcare facilities are minimal.

Maternal and neonatal mortality & morbidity remain enormous challenges in rural areas. This can be prevented if we have adequately trained Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) in our villages.

Most of the population in the villages of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are poor farm laborers or farmers with small landholdings and barely earn enough to provide for their families. Many girls from these rural villages do not pursue their studies beyond secondary education due to financial constraints. Girls are made to work in the fields or do household chores and are married off at a young age.

To address this, Johnson & Johnson introduced the Capacity Building of Healthcare Providers initiative, where the team works with the Indian Red Cross Society to support ANM training for underprivileged girls at Bel Air Hospital in Panchgani, Maharashtra and St. Joseph’s Multipurpose Health Worker Training School, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

The program fulfills two critical needs: enhancing healthcare facilities and enabling employment opportunities for underprivileged girls in rural areas.
Each year, sixty girls are selected from each center, based on merit and their economic background for a two-year residential course provided free of cost. They undergo rigorous training on community health, health promotion and primary healthcare nursing. Additional skills pertaining to community & child nursing, antenatal, intra-natal, post-natal care, and health center management are provided. After completing the course, approved by the Indian Nursing Council, the girls are offered job placements in village health programs under the National Rural Health Mission.

So far, 340 girls have completed the course, collectively at Bel-Air Hospital and St. Joseph’s Multipurpose Health Worker Training School. Consequently, the estimated number of rural populations served is around 270,000. There is a reduction in neonatal and maternal mortality & morbidity; improvement in pre-natal and post-natal care; decrease in number of anemia and malnourishment cases in the villages (especially among adolescent girls and women); and increase in health awareness among villagers. There has been a significant improvement in access to quality and timely healthcare for the villagers, many of whom have their illnesses diagnosed at an early stage.

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