Little doctors spread knowledge to remote villages

Our supporters have spread so much good through our yearly gift guide. Here’s the impact of a project you funded two years ago through the gift guide. (Check out the projects you can support this year!)  

Little Doctors: Championing Good Health

One of Compassion’s church partners in Chhattisgarh, India, is situated deep inside a forest and surrounded by mountains. The Oraon tribe lives here. They are farmers, and traditional beliefs and superstitions control their lifestyle. Access to education and health care are poor. Few doctors or nurses want to come to this rural community, so the local health centre is closed most of the time. The nearest hospital is 20 kilometres away, but the villagers don’t have any mode of transportation.

The basics of hygiene are unknown to villagers, who are mostly illiterate. When they are sick, they use ineffective traditional herbal remedies. Snake and insect bites are common in this forested area, and women and children often suffer burns from cooking over fires. But they have no modern knowledge for how to treat these conditions.

Little Doctors: Championing Good Health

But Compassion East India’s Little Doctor Training is equipping youth here to become champions of health and hygiene in their communities.

Ten children between ages 15 and 18 years old from this village were selected to go to a one-week training workshop called “Little Doctors”. They learned about basic hygiene, such as washing hands, cutting nails, bathing and combing hair. They also learned preliminary first aid, including how to apply bandages and treat snake and dog bites. They learned how to take someone’s pulse and administer CPR if necessary. And, finally, they were taught how to teach their parents, neighbours and community members what they learned. At the end of the training, each Little Doctor was awarded a certificate, a T-shirt and a hygiene kit.

Little Doctors: Championing Good Health

One of the Little Doctors, 19-year-old Om Prakash, says, “We live among different kinds of wild insects and poisonous snakes, so basic knowledge of first aid is essential in order to save lives through timely and correct medical intervention.”

After the training, the Little Doctors created a plan with the help of their Compassion centre manager, Neelesh, to spread their knowledge to peers, parents, neighbours and other villagers. First, they trained the children in the Compassion centre about hygiene and first aid. Then they visited two village schools to educate the students there. They also administered first aid to children who had small wounds and injuries. They encouraged the students at the schools to share the lessons with their parents, siblings and at least three friends in their neighbourhood.

Little Doctors: Championing Good Health

Next, the Little Doctors visited five other villages to share their knowledge. They went as a team to each village and then split into groups of three. One child would share about hygiene and first aid, while the other two administered first-aid care wherever it was needed.

The Little Doctors educated the villagers about the importance of basic hygiene, including hand washing, nail cutting and keeping one’s house and its surroundings clean. They also told the villagers about government provisions, such as a free ambulance service they can use for medical emergencies.

Little Doctors: Championing Good Health

After the first visit, the Little Doctors did two follow-up visits in each village to ensure the health tips were being implemented.

Their training has been received well both by their parents and villagers. Kejiram, one of the village heads, says, “I am grateful to the Little Doctors for reaching out to our village with knowledge of first aid and hygiene. Minor cuts, wounds, insect bites and burns cannot be avoided in a village context, but knowing how to treat them correctly and on time could prevent simple ailments from turning into life-threatening ones.”

Many village elders hugged the children and blessed them after the training because they had never experienced the kind of love and care the Little Doctors demonstrated when they cut their nails, cleaned their wounds and administered first aid.

Little Doctors: Championing Good Health

Ram, another villager, says, “When my wife gets diarrhea, the Little Doctors taught us that drinking an adequate amount of oral rehydration solution helps to keep the body hydrated. Earlier, when we used to get diarrhea, we would abstain from drinking all kinds of liquids.”

Sandeep, Compassion’s partnership facilitator of this centre, says, “Our centre children have really emerged as hygiene champions in their communities. They are literally regarded as little doctors in their community. During my visit to the centre, I met a lady who had suffered burns while cooking. She was full of praise for our centre children because of the care she received from them.”

The Little Doctor Training taught youth to develop a heart of service, and five of these youth have enrolled to study nursing with the support of Compassion. These youth are passionate about serving their community and improving the health care in their community.

The impact of this project continues to multiply. The youth still regularly meet to discuss new strategies to pass on their learning to the community and children. As Sukhram, an 18-year-old Little Doctor says, their hope is “that there will be a Little Doctor in every corner of the village.”

By Provashish Dutta, Compassion East India


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Written by: Compassion Canada