Watching the local village health workers (women selected by their communities to be trained by CRHP; who are poor, low caste, often illiterate, and have not received more than basic education) take care of the health services and health education needs of their villages is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen during my time in India. Here, Pushpa tests the glucose level in the urine of a villager with diabetes by adding Benedict’s solution, heating it to boil on coals from her stove, and comparing changes in color to a chart on the bottle.   This villager has been using Pushpa’s recommendations for diet and exercise that are appropriate to the arduous work and lifestyle of women in the villages, and today her glucose levels are within normal range. For villagers whose glucose levels are critical, Puspha will take them to the CRHP hospital for medical attention. Practicing healthcare in this way is sustainable, empowering, effective, and limits reliance on medical doctors and services that are not accessible, convenient, or appropriate for the context in which the villagers live.

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Images from India: Local women perform healthcare services

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