Boat clinics PPP project scans remoted islands for COVID-19 in the state of Assam, India

Photo from Jorhat Boat Clinic

Government of Assam (India) partnered with the NGO “Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research ” under the NRHM-Public Private Partnership (PPP) to set up a boat-clinic service which is helping to reach the far-flung areas of the state.  In these districts, the boat clinics are reaching the poor and marginalized population with sustained health care since last two years. The boat clinics provide both preventive and curative care to the population residing in the islands.

“The boat clinics have pitched in to deal with the novel coronavirus disease by carrying out door-to-door community surveillance in the river islands” writes Nabarun Guha.

Under this PPP the operational cost and human resource remuneration are borne by the NRHM, Assam whereas the infrastructure meaning construction of the boats is the responsibility of CNES along with the insurance of the boats. The medicines, vaccines and family planning consumables are supplied from District Health Society. Monitoring mechanism: Under this PPP the partner implementing agency submits monthly action plan and physical & financial progress report to the State. Besides the regular reporting system quarterly review meeting were performed to understand the progress and difficulties arises while implementing the programme.

Progress achieved: The response to the service being provided by the boat clinics for the marginalized population is overwhelming as the community was deprived from the basic health services due to non availability of the health infrastructure. Before the NRHM-PPP these island dwellers had a rare chance to visit health personnel and seek treatment for their illness.  A total of 2,08,203 general health checkups were done and 8,109 pregnant women received the ante-natal checkups, 2,002 women receives post-natal follow-up and 15,818 children were immunized.

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