We have been using SALT and CLCP with Patient Support Group in Chaili, Himachal for response to diabetes and hypertension.
After dream building and action plan, the PSG recognised the importance of exercise for better health and taking medication regularl. They say that they had never paid attention to what they themselves could do for their health but through the conversations in Patient Support Group they realised that it was important for them to take action. What is remarkable is the support which has come across for each other. We have Patient Support Groups in other villages where we have not used SALT. In these groups people come just for getting BP or sugar level checked but in our SALT PSG people share and exchange.
We ask questions like what have you done well in health. This makes them think and when they come the next time they share. They also get to know what others are doing in health. This motivates them. Through passage of time, the sharing in the PSG meeting has become more open. Now they talk more and we listen more. Also the way they see us has changed. Earlier when we used to go they used to make a face that we had come again but now they call us and want to share with us. We are now their allies.
One female patient has started taking medication regularly and also does yoga daily. She also phones her chachi (aunt) every 3-4 days and urges her to take her medication regularly. They now talk to each other regularly about health. The aunt was aware before but was not taking action. But through encouragement by this lady patient, the aunt has started taking medication and also exercising. This is an example of how people can support each other for better health outcomes.
Similarly a Self help group member who has been regularly attending the CLCP sessions was active in action planning. Now she and her husband do yoga and go for walks. They also motivate others to do yoga and also sometimes take other people in the village for walks.
I see a vast change in the people after SALT. They take action, encourage others to take action on health and proudly share their actions with us. Earlier they used to think of themselves, now they think about well being of others too. What SALT and CLCP has done is bring the PSG together as a group, think of their common concerns. Otherwise in their busy lives they did not have time to think of common issues. When they see their strengths, they feel that they can take action.
They insist that we continue to meet them even after the project gets over. My colleague Sulochna who facilitated with me in this village says that the relation with the villagers is like a family now. They start calling us when we we reach the village. SALT has played a key role in building this relation because no one has listened to their stories and looked at their strengths.