Tribal Health Initiative- Kalrayan Hills Project




Tribal Health Initiative(THI) was set up in the Sittilingi Valley in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, in 1993 by Dr. Regi and Dr. Lalitha. Sittilingi valley and the surrounding hills have approximately 50,000 inhabitants, most of whom are tribals.THI started out as a small clinic and is now a hospital with ~50 staff members.  Prior to THI, the nearest hospital with surgical facilities was 100 km away.

  • 33-bed hospital with 4 full-time doctors and a 24×7 labour room with Neo-natal ICU.
  • Nurses are from the local community and were trained by the doctors at THI.
  • Ambulance service for 21 villages in and around Sittilingi.
  • Training local part-time ‘Health Auxiliaries’, who are responsible for diagnosing and treating minor illnesses, offering advice on good hygiene, birthing, and nutrition, in their village community. They are facilitators for community development work.
  • THI also supports craft, and organic farming initiatives involving the locals.

The Project:

  • This project extends THI’s reach. Kalrayan Villages are not connected to public transport. The region has only 3 health-care centers that cater to 40000 people => very poor health-care system, high maternal-mortality and infant-mortality rates.
  • This project started in 2009 – THI members visited villages and spoke to villagers about their health care situation.
  • Out-patient clinic was set up in Vellimalai.
  • THI started the training of Health Auxiliaries (HAs) in Feb 2010. 25 women from 24 villages were trained.
  • Training covered village health and sanitation, women and child health, care during pregnancy and labour, common diseases and their management and use of basic medicines.
  • In 2014, a school health program was implemented to provide them knowledge on health and minor illnesses and to identify any marked illnesses among school going children.


The Impact:

  • Number of patients seen by THI increasing every year with 31811 patients seen in 2014.
  • No maternal mortality in the past 10 years (as per 2013 data).
  • Infant mortality rate was brought down from 147 per 1000 in 1993 to 20 per 1000 in 2013.
  • Malnourishment in children has reduced by 70%.
  • Pregnant mothers check up increased from 11% to 95%.

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