Connecting local responses around the world
This is a blog written by my colleague Arun and me for our work as SALT facilitators under HealthRise project. We work with Mamata- HIMC and this work was done under HealthRise project to engage people and communities to respond to diabetes and hypertension
Village Chowki, Block Sunni, District Shimla, Himachal Pradesh (India)
When we started doing SALT visits in the village, health worker called ASHA in India- Ms. Bala Devi- got motivated to do something for her village. She liked the idea of SALT.
Thereafter, we had a SALT meeting with the village where we discussed their strengths, their dreams. Through SALT, people realised their strengths and also took ownership of the idea that health was their responsibility.
As a result, patients and the health worker took a decision. They phoned us as one day that they had started doing yoga as a group. They also celebrated yoga day on 21st June in 2020 . This was during the peak of Covid-19. Yoga could be done while maintaining social distancing easily. As you know, exercise is very important to manage diabetes and hypertension which are co-morbidities in COVID-19.
Older people, middle aged village members also involved the children as they are the future, it is important to prepare the children for their health. Schools were closed due to the pandemic, children happily joined in yoga session. Children found it fun.
What was significant was that we as NGO staff were not there, it was celebrated under leadership of Asha worker. It was not possible for us to go due to COVID-19. During COVID-19, without our support, patients continued monthly routine check up and regular adherence to medicine and could maintain their diet.
Why SALT approach works and brings different generations together?
In SALT meetings, we create an appreciative environment where everyone listens to each other, everyone is a leader, men, women, youth, what do children want, everyone's voice is important. This brings everyone together and motivates them to work collectively. If SALT approach is used in communities they can effectively face pandemics like COVID-19 on their own without relying on external support.