A workshop on ‘Fertility Intentions and Contraceptive Practices’ training was organized by the Department of Community Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), the Centre of Excellence and Department of Tribal Affairs, Government of India at Mata Amritanandamayi Math, Meppady, Wayanad district, between October 2nd and 3rd, 2018. 

The workshop was born out of an earlier meeting chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs on June 1st, 2018, which considered the proposal of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and agreed to recognize it as a Centre of Excellence to take up certain activities. Among the activities, a paper on ‘Awareness About Use and Abuse of Oral Contraceptives Among Indigenous Tribes in Wayanad in Kerala’ was submitted by the Department of Community Medicine and it was selected for implementation. The protocol for the same was submitted and approval was obtained from the IEC. 

A cross-sectional study was planned in Wayanad and local women from Mananthavady and Kalpetta regions were employed as data collection assistants. To sensitize and train them on these topics, tool and interview technique, a two-day training program was organized. Thirty-eight trainees attended the workshop including 20 from Mananthavady Community Development block (CD) and 18 from Kalpetta CD. 

Mr. Sumesh, Coordinator, Mata Amritanandamayi Math, Meppady, welcomed the gathering and Advocate Chathukutty, Former Municipal Chairperson, presided over the function. The program was inaugurated by Mr. Saleem, Tribal Development Officer, Sultan Bathery, Wayanad, followed by the felicitation of Dr. Aswathy S., Professor at the Department of Community Medicine and the Principal Investigator of the study.

On the first day, Dr. Aswathy conducted the first session and her talk was about the scope, relevance and the importance of the project. It was followed by an interactive session on “Introduction to Contraceptives” by Dr. Amrita Das M. and Dr. Aswathy S. While Dr. Amrita discussed the definition and classification of contraceptives and family planning, Dr. Aswathy elaborated about the types of contraceptives and oral contraceptives. In the afternoon, Mr.Shyam and Mr. Aneesh, MSWs in the Department of Community Medicine elaborated on communication and rapport building through an interactive session including communication games. The day concluded with a briefing about the methodology of the study by Dr. Aswathy S and Mrs. Omana, health educator in the Department of Community Medicine.

The second day of the workshop began with an interesting and informative role play on data collection and informed consent. A detailed explanation on how to obtain a consent along with the content of the consent letter was discussed by Dr. Harsha Lais and Dr. Amrita Das. In the session, the trainees were divided into 3 groups and given separate training for demonstration and questionnaire administration. It was followed by the familiarization with the questionnaire in pairs. The suggestions from the trainees and  modifications were taken into consideration and issues with the consent and time taken for administration were also noted in between the pairs. 

A team of 2 trainees were assigned clusters, with a cluster size of 30 from Mananthavady and Kalpetta. The questionnaire with informed consent along with a cluster sheet to record non-respondents were distributed to the team before the completion of the workshop. The team members were asked to meet at two prefixed locations in Kalpetta and one in Mananthavady on alternate days. On the first day of data collection, two field monitoring teams visited Mananthavady and Kalpetta respectively for monitoring the trainees. Apart from supervision, the monitoring teams had also provided support to the trainees over the phone through all days of data collection. At the end of the day, the data was collected from the prefixed locations after ensuring the satisfactory completion of the questionnaires. 

Every day, the collected questionnaires were examined by the field monitoring team for inconsistencies. Then the data was recorded against the name and signature of the data collector in registers maintained separately for Kalpetta and Mananthavady. This practice helped a lot in data management.

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