Bengaluru: Natives of Hussainpura village of Pavagada taluk in Tumakuru district no longer need to cross the Andhra Pradesh border daily to fetch drinking water. They also need not travel 38 kilometres through forest areas to the nearest hospital for any medical emergency, after a Primary Health Centre was set up within the remote village itself.
All this happened thanks to ‘Operation Blue Water,’ a social initiative led by Rahul Prasad, a city youngster and social activist who converged passion and practical knowledge he attained at college to better hundreds of lives at the village. He is now training villagers to be self-sustainable and self-helping.
In a chat with Deccan Chronicle Rahul said, “The geometric placement of the village at the remote Karnataka-Andhra border had been the major hindrance towards any welfare activity in the village for the past ten to fifteen years. Taking people into confidence and making them aware of the fact that they need to change towards better was a major challenge we faced during the intervention.”
The youngster and his team had planned to ensure availability of drinking water, but they soon realised that many in the village were suffering from dengue or chikungunya. Dental and skeletal fluorosis was also rampant among them.
According to the activist, as many as 800 people in the village had little access to medical facilities to get treated for the diseases. “WhatsApp and social media groups came handy as I could get proper prescriptions from doctors (especially Dr Soumya Prasad from Delhi) and get them transported in bulk towards the village with the help of my friends and like-minded activists as soon as possible,” he explained.
Team ‘Operation Blue Water’ initially set up reverse osmosis pumps at the school and at the centre of the village. They then trained two ASHA workers on how to administer first aid, distribute medicines and provide guidelines on running a primary health centre.
“The intervention also helped us forward information to respective tahsildars and government officials from the village to facilitate pensions for widows, older citizens and the specially-abled. Sustaining and following up the social initiative on a monthly basis and inspiring more social workers to help people lead better lives is what we are working at the moment,” concluded Rahul, a social work student from St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru.