Health Rights: Activating Jan Arogya Samitis to improve Public Health Centers

Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives (SATHI) has been working for over two decades to promote equitable access to health care as a right.  Focussing on rural districts of Maharashtra, SATHI has worked with local communities to make government programs for free quality health care serve people as intended.

Jan Arogya Samitis, or People’s Health Committees comprise public health personnel and community members including students and children, and help raise the standards for quality service at government Health and Wellness centers which serve 3-5 villages.  In 2022, with AID support, SATHI worked in Nandurbar, Thane and Pune districts to strengthen the Jan Arogya Samitis and build public awareness and capacity to intervene for timely, quality access to health services as well as improvements in services closely connected to health such as water, sanitation and nutrition.

In January 2023, SATHI director Dr Abhay Shukla and field coordinators Shakuntala Bhalerao and Bhau Aher talked with AID about the process of activating Jan Arogya Samitis and results for community access to public health care as a right.  Watch the recording below:

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Through years of grassroots community work, the village level activists working with SATHI have built relationships with government health workers who have also expressed appreciation for the Jan Arogya Samitis.  See video below:

As the Community Health Officer of Jambhili village in Bhor Tehsil of Pune district says, the biggest achievement of the JAS is the removal of fear of the government’s clinic, and increased attendance at the Clinic. She now sees 40-50 patients a day.

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