Major floods and landslides in Kerala, during the monsoon of 2018, caused permanent damage to health equipment, assets and overall health facilities, leading to diminished services, reduced efficiency and placing a huge burden on the health system going forward.
While most relief efforts are over, it is critical to consider the larger and long-term impact on health care access to the communities impacted.
To assure long-term access to quality health care, Americares has identified three key areas of intervention in conjunction with the state government:
Kerala is known for its network of effective local health centres, engaging with the community to achieve better health outcomes. To ameliorate the large-scale damage caused to the health centres from the flooding, Americares will upgrade 66 health centres from Primary Health Centres (PHCs) to Family Health Centres (FHCs), which will be part of the ‘Ayushman Bharat – Family & Wellness Centres’ under the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ national program announced by the Hon. Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi.
A vulnerable population of lactating mothers & children is at risk of compromised nutrition that can have long-term impact on the growth of babies. Americares is working with the government to provide nutritional support to 11,000 mothers & children in the worst affected districts of the state.
This will be done in a program identifying the mothers at risk through the ASHA (health worker) network and reaching out to them through health education & product support.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and other mental health issues are common after such large-scale disasters. Kerala has a high burden of people facing mental health issues, including senior citizens and individuals suffering from alcoholism who need support post-disaster.
The state of Kerala is undertaking a large-scale program spanning over one year, collaborating among health centres, counsellors, ASHA and communities to identify individuals with mental health issues and connect them to health centres for treatment.
Americares aims to support the training & capacity building of the counsellors and ASHA, in 325 panchayats as part of this field-based program to strengthen the mental health management and capacity within the state.
More than 8,500 individuals received primary care at the health camps conducted by Americares and our partners across the state. Americares donated medicines and supplies worth more than Rs. 50 Mio to bridge the medical supply gaps. We donated 2 Mio chlorine tablets to ensure access to safe drinking water to communities. To prevent the potential outbreak of Leptospirosis (rat fever), Americares donated 5 Lac tablets of Doxycycline. We have donated vital safety gear to protect the cleaning staff from injuries and infection as they cleared the post-flood debris.
As families returned to their ravaged homes, we helped them maintain health and hygiene by providing access to safe drinking water, hygiene & cleaning products, shelter support and baby care products. More than 12,000 families benefited through the family relief support we were able to make available.