Encephalitis Project (Phase 2) – Gorakhpur

Report of Activities for the period 17-19th December 2012

1. Current Situation

  • The encephalitis project enters its 5th year with a change of leadership from Father Gibi to Father Varghese.
  • The first phase covered 50 villages in Chargawan Block (Gorakhpur) and now encompasses 75 villages.
  • This is the third project update visit by PSF.

2. Principal Activities

  • Discussion with facilitators, team leaders and trainers proved positive. The staff turnover rate has reduced and the team remain committed and well-motivated. Planned visit to Assam has been cancelled due to political unrest in the area. Team will now visit Siliguri, West Bengal in February 2013.
  • Meeting with Dr Srivastava principal of BRD Medical College gave an update on current research into AES. AES was principally a rural problem but significant evidence disease afflicting city areas. No finite view as to a specific cause for the ‘non-JE version’ of AES, but a number of possible reasons under research. Dr Srivastava was very supportive of PGSS activities and success of education and awareness building achieved.
  • Several village visits (1st phase and 2nd phase). After one year, the 2nd phase villages appear more advanced than 1st phase villages after their first year.
  • Discussion with officials of the other NGO’s. Only met with one NGO but very aware of work of PGSS. Dr Singh (NEEP) unfortunately called away and not able to meet this time. NGO’s do not appear to overlap activities in the same villages.

3. Issues raised

  • Facilitators can encounter non-co-operation, especially with Moslem communities who are often more superstitious than Hindus and resist vaccination clinics.
  • Some villagers unhappy re dismantling water pumps to clean. This is more a problem with the older pumps, but not a genuine reason to defer regular chlorine bleaching.
  • Problem with supply of Gambujia fish. Government sources failed to deliver this year. Alternative sources being investigated.
  • Some regular village meetings impacted by numerous festivals!
  • Poorer communities unable to afford mosquito nets resulting in frequent requests for donation of nets.

4. Observations

  • The transition of leadership from Father Gibi to Father Varghese appears to have gone smoothly. The Father is well briefed and knowledgeable re the villages and the appropriate actions for disease control.
  • The quality of communications has improved. Puppet shows and street theatre are well managed and the quality of posters and wall writings are first class.
  • The better villages are clearly those that have an involved and committed village leadership (Pradhan). This indicates that the rights based approach is working.
  • After just one year the ‘new villages’ appear to be benefiting from PGSS support and sensitisation, indicating the value of expanding the project and capitalising on the knowledge and experience gained in the first phase villages.

5. Next activities

  • Prepare annual report (due 18/19th December) for translation (French) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Release second annual payment of funds.
  • Discuss with TdH and PGSS how cross-fertilisation of ideas and support could possibly assist the challenging work of SKVS, Kushinagar.
  • Investigate possibilities of increased distribution of mosquito nets for poorer villages.
  • Follow up actions required to obtain regular resourcing of replacement of Gambujia fish.

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