The Amrita Community Health Training Centre, Njarakkal is the rural field practice area of the Department of Community Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi. It caters to a population of about 50,000 of two local self administartion units, (Njarakkal and Nayarambalam panchayats).
To create a healthy, empowered community with sustainable initiatives.
To provide comprehensive health services to the people of Njarakkal and Nayarambalam panchayat of Vypin block of Ernakulam District.
To provide training to MBBS,MD and students of other allied specialities.
To conduct community based research.
ACHTC is providing primary care to the people of Njarakkal and Nayarambalam Panchayat in particular and to Vypin Block in general. A Community Medicine specialist leads the team of two Medical Officers, Medico-social workers, Junior public health nurse, Junior health inspector, etc in providing primary care OP. Specialist services of the Psychiatrist, Ophthalmologist, Gynaecologist and Physician are available on a weekly basis. The Community Medicine specialist who is also the Administrative Medical Officer reports to Professor & Head, Community Medicine.
The services of the health centre include providing medical care, health education, implementing national health programs, taking care of endemic diseases, providing reproductive and child health care services and providing laboratory services. Reproductive and child health services including Family Planning, Immunisation, Adolescent care are given. Medical care of acute conditions like exacerbation of bronchial asthma, fever etc and chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes and minor surgical procedures like wound management, suturing, management of injuries are also carried out. Special services like tobacco cessation clinic are also provided.
Behaviour change exercises for sustainable behaviour change are also carried out in the community. These activities are also a part of the training of MBBS & MD students.
MBBS students are allotted a family as part of their training to understand the bio-psycho-social model of disease causation first hand. They follow up this family over the years and develop a rapport with them. As far as the family is concerned it is an opportunity for them to improve their knowledge on health-related conditions as well as to get screening services like vision, blood pressure at their doorstep. Students also carry out service programmes in the area such as assisting and motivating the community to adopt source reduction to prevent breeding of Aedes mosquitoes and, therefore, Dengue and Chikungunya.
MD residents get actively involved with community programmes and conduct antenatal home visits, monitor growth and development of under-five, follow-up on patients with non-communicable disease like hypertension, diabetes and geriatric patients at their homes. MD Residents of other specialties also are posted as a result of which people of this area get these services close to their homes.
GNM & BSc Nursing students also carry out surveys and community action programs in the area.
National Service Scheme students of the Government schools are also provided training on first aid at the centre.
The health centre is also at the forefront of providing training to health workers throughout India. The training programme was started as part of AMRITA SeRVe initiative.
Amrita SeRVe is a program of holistic development of the villages envisaged by AMMA. The Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) has selected 101 villages throughout India with the goal of helping them become self-reliant role-model villages for the country. When asked about why Amma was starting Amrita SeRVe, Amma said that villages are India’s foundation—its life-force—and that it is society’s responsibility to take care of them. ““It is our villages that, in fact, sustain us by providing we, who live in the cities, with the vegetables and other forms of nourishment we need to in order to survive,” Amma said.
A group of 21 health workers from various northern states of Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Bihar and Chhattisgarh were trained in providing basic health care at the grassroots level to supplement and complement the services of the existing health system in their states. They were named Mitr or “Amrita Swasthya Mitr”. A curriculum for the training was prepared and a practical hands-on training was imparted over a period of one month in January 2015 to tackle primarily the upstream determinants of health like sanitation, nutrition etc.
A refresher training was also conducted for the “Amrita Swasthya Mitr” trainees from Wayanad and Palakkad in May 2015.
Screening practices of common cancers among women in reproductive age group.
Coverage and compliance of Mass Drug Administration in Filariasis.
Chikungunya;A post epidemic study of vector indices.
Monitoring vector indices of Aedes aegypti and measuring the impact of an educational intervention
The health centre is also actively involved in providing sustainable initiatives to the people of Njarackal and adjoining villages.
A number of environmentally sustainable initiatives are also carried out like, smoke-free chulhas to reduce environmental pollution and for efficient use of firewood. Vermi-composting and biogas plant are also used to demonstrate to the community, ways and means of good waste management by the conversion of biodegradable waste into useful manure. Thus rotting of waste in the open can be prevented thus preventing diseases like diarrhea, typhoid etc. Mosquitoes are a perennial problem in this coastal community, therefore larvivorous fish like guppy are maintained and distributed in the community. Kitchen garden is another way of ensuring and propagating organic farming in the light of reports on the high levels of pesticides in vegetables. Organic farming is also promoted with the health centre having its own vegetable garden. Thus a holistic emphasis on health is aimed at.
Women Empowerment is also a focus of the health centre. Initially started in 2009 as ‘Amrita Sree’ a group of 9 women were trained on value addition of fish products by Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute and ACHTC who subsequently started making fish pickles, wafers etc. On the lack of sustained demand for fish products, they have now diversified into organic farming.
Miscellaneous: Visitors and public health students from all over the world like Europe, UK, USA visit ACHTC to understand public health and health care delivery in a low middle income country.