After assisting in the immediate response effort in Uttar Pradesh, AmeriCares India Foundation staff subsequently traveled to Dehradun to conduct medical camps for those impacted by the recent floods. During the visit, Dr. Parikh met with state health authorities, who identified the district of Almora as being in particular need of further medical support due to the lingering effects of flooding and subsequent landslides. Therefore, a few weeks later in early December, AmeriCares India Foundation physicians and relief workers returned to Uttarakhand. Essential medicines and medical supplies were hand-carried from Mumbai to the remote village of Manan, where the team conducted a medical camp for the affected population. Alongside the medical camp, AmeriCares India Foundation staff led a disaster preparedness and emergency medical management training for local healthcare workers. Eighty members of the community were in attendance, including the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, local doctors, ambulance workers, anganwadis and ASHAs.
In addition to these activities, AmeriCares India Foundation also had discussions with the Chief Medical Officer and other leaders of the Almora healthcare community regarding post-disaster medical needs. All levels of healthcare delivery – from doctor to ASHA – emphasized the need for training in emergency management, specifically trauma care. With a shortage of doctors due to the distance from a major city, and the long transport times arising from the mountainous terrain, the village health workers’ capacity to act as first responders is paramount. Therefore, in coordination with the district health authorities, AmeriCares India Foundation is devising a training module to effectively train all 2,000 village health workers – anganwadis, ASHAs and SS workers – across the entire district of Almora in disaster preparedness and medical emergency management. Further, the program will also include a separate curriculum specific to the more sophisticated needs of the advanced practitioners.
As per the request of the local community, the trainings will likely commence in June 2011.