Vocational Training and School of Nursing
ASHWINI has several training programs; some formal, some informal.
Health Volunteer training
This is a semi structured training program. Training in various aspects of health care is given at sessions at the Area Centre and the Hospital. Two day camps are organized at the hospital where, apart from health-related topics, inputs are often given regarding community organization, savings, the tribal economy and women’s issues. During village visits, the Health animators provide ongoing training. Over 300 health volunteers have undergone training.
Bharat Sevak Samaj (BSS) program and The ASHWINI Institute of Health
Training of adivasi youth in nursing, lab technology, accounting, administration etc was given from the beginning with classroom teaching and practical training on the job. Continuous ongoing up gradation of skills is also integrated into all programs. The ASHWINI Institute of Health was set up in 2010 under BSS, a Central Government Initiative for vocational training. Over the next eight years over 60 tribal youth were granted diplomas in nursing, pharmacy and lab technician and office accounting. Most of the staff got certified in their respective fields.
ASHWINI Adivasi School of Nursing and the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) course
After five years of battling with the authorities, in 2017 ASHWINI got recognition to start a ANM Nursing school which would be recognized by the State Board of Nursing. This has been a long-standing dream; a way to get tribal girls a vocation to pursue. The infrastructure requirement is extensive and would not have been possible without the support of the Swiss funding organization, Poristes Stiftung.
The first batch of 20 students, 18 from the tribal community, entered the two year program in October 2017. The course is rigorous and includes classroom learning, field work with Government staff and hospital postings. The second batch has 15 students from Gudalur and the others from other tribal areas or disadvantaged backgrounds. They are faring very well in all aspects.
A higher education initiative at ASHWINI was begun in 2014, funded by the Poristes Stiftung. This supports tribal students who fare well in school to pursue higher education programs in allied health sciences. Students have been enrolled in a variety of courses including Diplomas in pharmacy, lab technician, anesthesia, computer programming, radiography, special education etc; Bachelors degrees in Nursing, Speech and Hearing, Pharmacy & Physiotherapy, and Masters degree in Social Work and Hospital Administration. Thirteen students have successfully enrolled and have completed or are working towards completion of their degrees so far. We are constantly amazed at our students’ motivation, dedication and hard work. Most of them complete their courses with distinction. We hope that many of them will come back to work for their community.
After a two to three year raining in the hospital, Health Animators (HAs) are rigorously trained to carry out a majority of the field work and meet the demands of the community health program. HA training takes place with regular classes, workshops and field visits from our experienced doctors and staff. They are trained in many aspects of general health, such as disease recognition and referrals, providing basic nursing care, simple procedures and follow ups as well as health education and counseling. They are also taught to become trainers; imparting skills to health volunteers.