PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES
Today, the Adivasi Hospital is one of the most sought after hospital in the Gudalur valley, not only by the tribals but also by the non-tribals of the local area. Patients are brought from distant villages by ambulance and good quality care is given.
Sickle Cell Centre
The Gudalur Adivasi Hospital began conducting an epidemiological assessment of sickle cell disease using a combination of the sodium metabisulphite test and the confirmatory hemoglobin electrophoresis.
After realising a need for more concentrated efforts towards ensuring special education for persons with disability, decided to extend its community based health care services.
SCHOOL OF NURSING
Tribal girls are constantly trained and their skills are upgraded to keep up with the growth of the programme.
The mobile outreach services visit the villages on a regular basis. 246 visits were made and 9943 patients seen.
Many students from universities abroad, CMC Vellore, TISS Mumbai and other colleges spend time at ASHWINI
Health Animators visit the adivasi villages regularly – often situated at the midst of forests.
ASHWINI (Association for Health Welfare in the Nilgiris) is a Charitable Organisation providing comprehensive health care for one of the most neglected sections of our society - the Adivasis. Gudalur Valley situated in the tri-junction of the three South Indian States of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka is the home of over 25000 Adivasis for many centuries. Five different tribes viz. Paniyas, Bettakurumbas, Mullukurumbas, Kattunaickens and Irulas were inhabiting this forested valley. Alienated from their own land by big Tea Estates, migrants from the plains and by Government authorities, these adivasis fought back by organising themselves into a strong political force. They were able to assert their political and social rights, to revive their cultural art forms and to join the mainstream society as equal partners with dignity.
Equally remarkable is their quest for good quality health care. Started as a small community health programme primarily targeted at training tribal women on women and child care issues, the programme grew into ASHWINI, comprising of a 20 bedded hospital, 8 Sub-Centres and as an important institution owned and managed by the people themselves.
One of the highlights of ASHWINI's health programme is the innovative health insurance scheme. For the adivasis used to community living for ages, the health insurance scheme was the modern equivalent of sharing their risks and helping each other in the hour of crisis. Over ten years, this programme is being run by ASHWINI successfully, though not without problems.
Our work can be understood in a proper perspective only with the knowledge of the social and cultural background of the Adivasi society in Gudalur. We have taken care to preserve the rich Adivasi Culture, even while introducing them to the benefits of modern medicine.
We are always happy to hear from doctors who would like to volunteer.
Though ASHWINI as an independent organisation was started only in 1990, its genesis dates back to 1986 when Stan Thekaekara and his wife, Mari started ACCORD, a Non-Governmental Organisation in Gudalur. Their main objective was to to fight against the unjust alienation of the adivasi lands and other human rights violations by organising them as a strong group.
They facilitated the formation of village level sangams and these sangams enabled the adivasi families to prevent any of their land getting encroached by powerful non-tribals of that area or by the Government authorities. More than 200 such village sangams had been formed within two years. These sangams were federated at the taluk level into "Adivasi Munnetra Sangam" which till today remains the representative organisation of the adivasis, fighting for their just rights and striving for the socio-economic development of the adivasi community.