In August 2008, a breach in the eastern Kosi embankment in Nepal released more than 3.7 million litres of water into Northern Bihar, flooding hundreds of villages in one of the worst humanitarian disasters the area has ever seen. As part of our immediate response, SEEDS had partnered with MERCY Malaysia and Doctors For You to set up mobile and static health clinics in Madhepura district. Yet, the need extended far beyond. Sonbarsa block in Saharsa district had only one (and that too non-functional) health centre in the entire block. It also had an extremely high number of malnourished children and communicable diseases.
How we helped
The Biratpur Health Centre was set up in Sonbarsa block. It served over 25 surrounding villages within a 5-km radius. The aim was to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates and promote hygiene and health education.
Over the four years that the clinic ran, it became the nerve centre of the community. It moved from being just a ‘health centre’ to reaching out proactively. Weekly community awareness programmes were conducted on topics ranging from family planning to immunisation. Basic disaster awareness was conducted in schools and village disaster management plans drawn up. Since many pregnant women cannot even afford the minimum healthcare facilities, community representatives were taught to be ‘Trained Birthing Attendants’.