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Recent Projects
Comprehensive Diabetes Control Programme
Community-Based Monitoring
Controlling malnutrition in Melghat
Control of waterborne diseases
Accessing Medicines in Africa and South Asia
Evaluation of Janani Suraksha Yojana
Study of Public Private Partnerships for Emergency Obstetric Care
Risk Factors for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis
Access to leprosy care
Demonstration of Comprehensive Birth Management System
The Story Since 1975
In the early 1970s, a surgeon in charge of a specialty department of a reputed medical college in Bombay had ventured to an underdeveloped region called Mandwa, located across the harbor from the city, to see how he could help people from the rural community. Soon it was obvious to him that the underlying cause of most of the health and medical problems was poverty, for which, he, as a trained doctor, had no solution.
The next best alternative was to try and teach local residents how to treat the common medical problems that cropped up in their own community. This was the beginning of the journey of FRCH that has now completed more than 3 decades. The essence of its work is to demystify and decentralize health and medical care in rural communities.
FRCH was not registered as a Foundation when the work began in Mandwa. In the beginning, Dr.Noshir Antia, the founder of FRCH, and his team shared their medical knowledge with the practical wisdom of 30 local women, sitting under a tree. FRCH staff trained these ordinary women, whose educational level varied from 4th to 10th standard, to conduct health care for their own neighborhood. It was seen that they were able to achieve in the mid 70s many of the targets which the Government hoped to achieve by 2000 AD, in major problem areas like water borne diseases, leprosy, tuberculosis, malaria, acute respiratory tract infections as well as family planning. Around the same time, such alternative experiments were successfully attempted also by other non- government organizations in other parts of the country. While FRCH withdrew from Mandwa after 10 years, it was proved by then that this was a viable approach that could be successfully replicated. This was subsequently reflected in the health planning and policies for the country.
In 1981, some of the eminent members of the medical and social sciences professions came together, to provide an alternative health care system that was accessible, accountable, culturally acceptable and cost effective for all citizens, especially the poor. This was a report by the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research/Indian Council of Medical Research entitled “Health For All: An Alternative Strategy”. FRCH provided the research and secretariat for the Report. The proposed system ratified its field experiences, and FRCH has since then tried to demonstrate this alternative system in its grassroots work.
The experience of Mandwa was followed by a five- year project on Health Education in rural Maharashtra in Malshiras village in Pune district, where FRCH provided education to the staff of a Primary Health Center (PHC) and combined this with direct health education to the people served by the same PHC. During this period FRCH carried out a number of field-based research studies on various aspects of health and medical care. The role of NGOs in health care, economics of health care, operations research, development of human resources and the private medical sector were some of the key studies which attracted widespread attention. Thus academic activity and field work complemented and strengthened each other. FRCH also conducted field-based research with its sister organization Foundation for Medical Research to find viable solutions for rural health problems. In the process, the merging of disciplines evolved a unique methodology of combining scientific methods with social insights.
These combined experiences led to a further, more systematic exploration of the people based approach, culminating in the FRCH of today.
Currently FRCH works at Pune, Parinche and Mumbai, besides locations of partner organizations across the country. FRCH has an accredited Resource and Training Center at Parinche in rural Maharashtra, for training community health workers . FRCH projects have yielded an alternative health model for a Community Health Care System (CHCS) with comprehensive research and documentation components. All research activities of the FRCH endeavor to develop analytical framework for the issues involved, which would help in wider application and replicability of the models.
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