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 the result of an earlier meeting chaired by Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs on June 1st, 2018, which considered the proposal of Amrita VishwaVidyapeetham and agreed to recognize it as a Centre of Excellence to take up certain activities. Among the activities, a proposal 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.  

In order to understand oral contraceptives a cross-sectional study was planned in Wayanad district on fertility intentions and contraceptive use with the help of the local women from Mananthavady and Kalpetta. To enable them to do this 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 inaugural 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.

A series of talks and interactive sessions were held led by Dr. Aswathy who spoke on 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.

On the  second day,  an interesting and informative role play on data collection and informed consent was conducted 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. 

A team of 2 trainees were assigned clusters, with a cluster size of 30 from Mananthavady and Kalpetta. 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 field monitoring. Apart from supervision, the monitoring teams had also provided support to the trainees over the phone through all days of data collection.

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