Health and Nutrition

HyN1The initiatives aim at helping local communities to improve their health and nutrition status. Over the years, the Mission Centres have sought to respond to several key local concerns including combating malnutrition, reducing incidence of tuberculosis etc. Maternal and child health, in particular, has emerged as a major area of work in the Region. 

Mother and Child Health Programme (MCH)

 Discussions and meetings on MCH issues are held at Dharan and Lolay. In Dharan, paramedics share information with community members, particularly mothers. Such sessions are held for 5 days every month. Similar sessions are conducted monthly by the paramedics associated with the dispensary at Lolay. Here, 114 mothers have benefited from the programme. Antenatal check ups are also conducted for pregnant women. Those found anaemic are given supplementary food and nutrition. Selected community members are also given a kg of rice and half kg black gram at subsidised rates.3 Children are weighed regularly at Lolay and Dharan. The basic idea is to track their growth and development processes. Thus, the paramedics are able to alert the mothers when the children become malnourished and do not record appropriate weight for their age. In Lolay, medication and rations are provided to children who are malnourished and susceptible to tuberculosis. In Panighatta, the MCH component has become a part of the Collective Voices programme (details provided later). The programme supervisor at Panighatta conducts meetings and sessions on MCH with women at Lohasingh, a neighbouring community, as well. Also, the MCH programmes support the government's immunization campaigns. Staff members and volunteers mobilise communities. The emphasis is on ensuring increased coverage of age appropriate immunization among children. In Lolay, the government functionaries also use the dispensary premises for administering vaccinations. 


HyN2The Dharan, Lolay and Panighatta Mission Centres run dispensaries to help local communities meet some of their health needs. The emphasis is on providing basic medicines and first aid. The paramedics also guide families in case of emergencies and facilitate referrals. The dispensaries serve an important role as communities often have little access to medical facilities. At Lolay, 4 trained paramedics and a nurse run the dispensary. Sometimes, they have even conducted home deliveries in remote villages in the area. The dispensaries at Panighatta and Dharan are run by  trained paramedics. In Dharan, the paramedic is assisted by a social worker. The programme supervisor in Panighatta provides medicines in Lohasingh. These are sourced from the Panighatta dispensary. 


HyN3Facilitating Services

DMWSC facilitated eye check up camps for the local communities in Lolay and Panighatta. Many community members suffered from eye related problems/ailments and had not received the necessary treatment. In Lolay, the camps were conducted in collaboration with the Mission Centre, Loreto past pupils of Darjeeling and Samgon Kongtrul Eye Centre, Kalimpong, The camps were held twice at Lolay – on May 24 and Sept 28, 2009.  A total of 163 community members attended the camps. Sixteen community members subsequently underwent cataract operations, free of cost, at the Samgon Kongtrul Eye Centre. Four interns at DMWSC took the lead in organising the camp at Panighatta on June 7, 2009. Here, the Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital was involved. In all, 134 community members attended the camp. Subsequently, Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital conducted free cataract operations for 13 of them. Several other eye operations were also done at a subsidised rate. Spectacles were provided at subsidised rates at all the camps. The local communities appreciated the initiative. They urged the Sisters and others involved to facilitate more camps in the future.


Mid day Meals 

The students of Loreto Schools in Lolay and Panighatta receive nutritious mid day meals. In Dharan, mid day meals are provided to children attending the Child Development Centre. 

Other Key Initiatives Providing Support to the Disadvantaged: At Lolay, rations are provided to 15 elderly men and women at subsidised rates and to another 14 families where adults are malnourished or suffer from tuberculosis. The Centre has also helped several community members obtain disability certificates. These certificates enable physically and mentally challenged people to access specific benefits and schemes.

Disseminating Information on HIV and AIDS and Other Health Concerns: The Mission Centres in the Region have been involved in increasing awareness about various health concerns and issues including HIV and AIDS. The activities have been conducted by the Mission Centres themselves or in collaboration with other agencies/bodies.

Conducting Health Camps and Providing Other Services: During Nov 2008 - March 2009, 200 children and 140 adults in Lolay underwent a 3 month course of Hepatitis B vaccination. The camps were held in collaboration with a local NGO Anugyalaya. The Lolay Mission Centre also facilitated surgery for a 9 year old girl whose vision was restored. The Centre is promoting innovative therapies such as hair therapy as well.    

Improving Water Supply: The Lolay Mission Centre has helped regularise water supply for 67 families. Essentially, pipes were laid for ensuring regular supply. Unfortunately, a flood in 2007 disrupted the system. The families then got the pipes repaired. Currently, they are also reorganising the water committees which had been constituted earlier. Increasingly, these committees are taking responsibility for maintaining the system. Earlier, during 1996-2001, roofing materials (sheets) had also been provided to 120 families.