Oil India Limited (OIL) has earned a reputation of a company that aligns itself with the greater good of society. As a responsible corporate, the company has always maintained its foundation on both Corporate and Social Responsibility. Under its CSR initiative – Project Arogya, the Company aims to reduce Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality rate (MMR) in 20 identified villages of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts of Upper Assam, where IMR and MMR rates were found to be high. Schoolnet India Limited has been the implementing partner for OIL in this project since 2014.
When awareness blossoms, petals of change unfold. This is the aim of Project Arogya – to generate awareness through deep- rooted actions to induce long term change. The project does this through education, communication, sharing information with informal groups of various stakeholders called Saathiya clubs, training of community workers, pre-and post-natal health check-up camps and adoptions of 4 girl’s schools. Tracking of pregnant women and children (0-5 years) is an integral part too, in order to promote institutional deliveries for expecting mothers, and immunization for prevention of maternal and infant deaths, thereby benefitting 9000 households and 25,000 persons.
“One of the most noble acts in today’s time, in our country, is the act of generating awareness, especially about health and hygiene, mother and childcare, nutrition and wellness. Project Arogya has reached the poorest of the poor at the grassroot level, and I am indebted for having been given the opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives through this project,” said Dr. Mausumi Borkotoki while recounting her journey with Arogya. During the initial days, villagers attended these camps more out of curiosity. But gradually they saw an immediate value and developed a genuine ownership by enthusiastic participation and a will to learn. “The important part is that these camps are well structured and organized, enhancing their impact through the resources available. As far as I am concerned, all I can say is that the experience has left a deep impact on me too; there was so much to generate awareness about, and so much to learn through numerous eye-opening and heart-warming experiences,” Dr. Borkotoki added with deep satisfaction on her face.
Saathiya means a friend, and that is exactly what the Saathiya Club is. The Saathiya Club, under the OIL-Arogya project, is a club comprising villagers who work together for the upliftment of society, for the reduction of IMR and MMR, in collaboration with Schoolnet India Limited. It was formed on the basis of the performance of trainees who completed 5 days of training on community health. The activities covered by the club include organizing health awareness meetings on diverse subjects including home-based neo-natal care, family planning, hygiene and sanitation, vector borne diseases, balanced diet, etc. Three sub-divisions of the club are – Saathiya Club of pregnant women and lactating mothers, Saathiya Club for adolescent girls and Saathiya Club for service providers. It has become a backbone of the local health support system in the area
“I am a daily wage labourer at a tea garden. I simply do not get the time to participate in social programmes. However, on one Sunday, I was asked to attend one such meeting on health and nutrition for mothers and children. It was so interesting and knowledgeable. Then onwards, I started attending meetings regularly. It was because of these meetings that I was motivated to deliver my baby in a hospital. I even received one baby care kit, while I was admitted. I encouraged others too to come and attend these awareness sessions,” says Anita Kurmi.
“I am a mother of five children, four girls and one boy. However, none of my children were taken for immunization. I met Ritumoni didi, a field worker, after the birth of my fifth baby. She advised me to attend the immunization camp, but I argued that none of my elder
children had ever been immunized and they have been healthy. Besides, I was apprehensive about the ‘side effects’ I had heard about. Didi explained how immunization helps enhance the capacity of the baby to fight against diseases and how it is essential for the healthy life of children,” says Purobi Dohutia.