Notes from Health Cell Call Dec 9 2016

Health Cell 2016 wrap-up call – Dec 9, 2016

In attendance: Aravinda (A) DC-Metro, Ranjan (R) Los Angeles, Gayatri (G) Baltimore, Mohan (M) DC-Metro, Vikas (V) Ann Arbor


2016 Health Cell Activities:

  • July 11 – Call with Dr. Abhay Shukla regarding community based monitoring of public health services – plan to scale up the project to 25 blocks and eventually to the entire state and nation, building it into the culture of people’s interaction with the public health system, just as RTI has become part of the national civic culture.
  • Aug 8 – Google Hangout Discussion of Universal Health Care with Anant Phadke.
  • Oct 16 – Sharing of SATHI project visit report by Sonali Rahagude
  • Nov 21 – Video Call with Dr. Abhay Shukla, SATHI,  “Health:  State Moving Backward, Movements Innovating to Move Forward”  Hosted by AID-Bay Area and aired live on Periscope TV, with volunteers interacting via google hangout, chat, etc.

Follow-up: Austin, Duke and Seattle chapters expressed interest in reviewing the Community Based Monitoring project.  As Health Cell was still in formative stages, we did not conduct the review through the cell, but are going to be involved in the project going forward.

Gayathri shared that following the November call with Dr. Shukla, she spoke with the research director at SATHI to work out a plan to do research in what factors help the community based monitoring approach work better.  She plans to do this as part of her practicum in her MPH program at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. 

Action Item: Need to prepare a report of 2016 activities.  Volunteers to prepare the report:  Ranjan

Studying Health Policies:

As a cell, we would like to study the policy statements and review papers issued by NGOs and movements working to achieve the goal of health for all, as a democratic right.  In 2017 we will start discussing the following:

Health for All Now!

Some Health Care for Some of the People, Some of the Time

Indian People’s Health Charter

Volunteers to lead discussion: Aravinda and Vikas

Health cell housekeeping

Need a coordinator for the Health Cell.  Duties of the Coordiantor are:

  1. Call meeting
  2. Agenda: Ask people to say what to include in agenda items.
  3. Meeting Minutes
  4. How often should we meet.

Decided to meet on alternate Fridays.  Gayathri volunteered to serve as the coordinator and will call the next meeting in early 2017.

Open discussion on Gayathri’s plans to follow up with SATHI project


Gayatri (studying Master’s in Public Health in Johns Hopkins university) did follow up with Dr Abhay Shukla to work out a  4-6 month practicum she can do.


She wants to help with Saathi activities. Dr Abhay Shukla put her in touch with research coordinator who directed to her website, who had the publication on the website. She is planning to visit in June. She isinterested in the community based monitoring programme (CBMP). She will try to see what are the characteristics of local community that are favorable to CMBP. One of the factors is degree of social cohesion. One of the papers she mentioned explored degree of ethnical diversity Uganda. Lack of social cohesion negatively affected such programmes. It is hard to bring people together. It is not clear, what factors play how much a role though. These days people measure social capital.

There are various measures of social capital. There is nothing decisive in the papers yet. In India it would not be ethnic but there would be caste problem. (G) wants to identify the measures/factors/indicator that determine the success of the program. This would enable us to focus on increasing social capital first and then implement the program. Social diversity may or may not be a problem. It may be context dependent. If there are bridges among different communities it is better. Some communities are diverse but live in harmony.

(M): You will recall when we did 15 years ago in UP, the project with Sahayog, Almora area, Abhijit das, lower caste people were not allowed when upper caste people were inside.

(G): The concept of social capital. These are budding in the field of sociology. In general it would be a way to measure, to know if the programs can be implemented.

(R) It varies from urban to rural areas.

(M) Our experience has been different.

(G) Grad student who worked in Mali studied the role of midwives and social capital. She compared the social network in community that have lived in there for generations. In the migrant community, the social capital is low. The cities are not well-connected because. It is not that cut and dry between urban and rural.

(R) It is hard to acquire data in India.

(G) It won’t be a study. It would be a cross-sectional survey. We can start somewhere and see where things go and learn more about the project.

(A) We wanted to have presentation on the community based monitoring of health project today. We will try to schedule it for the next meeting.

Would you like to join the health cell?  Contact AID to volunteer.

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