DHRUVA is an Associate Organization of the BAIF Development Research Foundation [www.baif.org.in] registered in 1995 under the Societies Registration Act 1960 and Bombay Public Trust Act,1950. DHRUVA is an acronym for "Dharampur Utthan Vahini" or the "Vanguard of awakening in Dharampur". DHRUVA means the Pole Star - the beacon of light for the stranded wayfarer.
The activities are spread over three predominantly tribal districts of South Gujarat - Navsari, Valsad and Dangs. Today, DHRUVA has expanded its area of operational to include tribal parts of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Its program areas include livelihood generation through farming system improvement, watershed development, livestock management, women’s development, health, sanitation and nutrition, micro-finance, agri-produce processing and marketing and strengthening of local communities and user groups through the formation of People’s Organisations.
The organization's main work in health includes:
■ Community health
■ Herbo techniques
■ Village level sanitation
■ Health Education
The Community Health Program functions through a network of village health guides with a focus on improved health status of the family, prevention of infant and child morbidity and mortality, immunization of children, supply of clean potable water, hygiene and sanitation. Its activities include provision of safe drinking water (chlorination, maintaining sanitation around the source, installation of hand pumps, etc.), primary health care for minor ailments, mother and child health care (ante-natal checkups, growth monitoring, immunization services, etc.) and health education. Tribal youth, especially women, are trained as village health guides to provide these services.
Access to health services and lack of awareness on health and hygiene are the primary reasons for increased morbidity among the tribal poor. Expenditure on health drains off a major portion of their income, further jeopardizing their existence. The Community Health Program aims to educate the local community on the health practices that can be incorporated in their daily life, create a local resource base that will deliver primary health care and revive traditional remedies, while linking to the health delivery system promoted by the Government. The strategy also includes developing government linkages – regular immunization services, special immunization drives like pulse polio ante-natal clinics, camps for family planning (family welfare), etc. Primary health care is also achieved by training of local ‘dais’ (midwives) and by creating a network of local ‘Bhagats’ (traditional healers).
Herbal-based health program: DHRUVA is committed to preserving the traditional health practices prevailing in the tribal areas. The Traditional Health Practitioners have extensive knowledge on the medicinal properties of local plants and herbs growing in the region. DHRUVA has kept up a dialogue with them to document the traditional remedies and has identified nearly 200 species of medicinal plants with their support. Some health practitioners have also been trained in Naturopathy and the organization has now started Nisargopchar Kendras (herbal treatment centres) at the village level to provide health services to the community.