Mumbai, Jan 30: Never has the message of preventive healthcare come more alive than on January 25 at the 6th annual Health Workers Rally of the Health Promotion Trust (HPT), held at the Holy Name High School hall at Colaba, here.
Nearly 450 people, including HPT staff, priests, nuns, social workers, representatives of community-based organizations and health workers from Raigad, Thane and Mumbai districts, participated in a scintillating and vibrant celebration.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, graced the event as chief guest.
Katkari tribal women from Mahad, Mangaon, Kolad, Roha, Tara, Rees, Kolke, Karjat and other parts of the Raigad district and health workers from various areas in the city sang songs, performed folk dances and skits to share the powerful impact of preventive healthcare on their lives. Their performances reflected their sheer joy, dynamism, enthusiasm and one hundred percent investment in their work as grassroot health workers.
The Koli dancers of Uttan dressed in traditional attire delighted one and all with their folk dance choreographed to the upbeat tunes of the amazing Uttan band. One of the performances was a 'talk show' featuring interviews with HPT’s social workers, health workers, deacons and other stakeholders. In his response, Deacon Seby shared, “I suffered from vertigo for many years and allopathic medicines had no effect, but instead caused negative side-effects. HPT staff trained me to press certain acupressure points and within a short time, my vertigo vanished permanently. I now teach other vertigo sufferers about acupressure. I am very grateful to HPT.”
Cardinal Gracias handed certificates to all the new graduates of HPT’s intensive two-year health worker training programme. HPT has been conducting these 'barefoot health worker trainings since 2010. The curriculum includes topics such as nutrition, exercise, sleep patterns, acupressure, yoga, pranayama, mudras, laughter therapy, herbal gardens and herbal remedies. Certified health workers conduct preventive health education sessions for urban and rural slum dwellers, senior citizens, farmers, fisher folk, HIV+ persons and others in their respective localities, padas or villages.
A special highlight was the felicitation of Fr Rocky Banz, HPT director, on completion of 25 years of service to social development in the archdiocese of Mumbai. In his congratulatory address, he emphasized that preventive healthcare empowers hundreds and thousands of poor families to save their precious earnings and use preventive health practices instead, to take care of their health needs. The cardinal shared his joy and pride in the innovative programmes of the Health Promotion Trust and expressed hope that they would be replicated in other parts of India. He thanked Fr Rocky and the HPT team for their marvellous work and service to the archdiocese, and pledged his continued support to Health Promotion Trust.