JMS campaign in three electoral constituencies for basic community rights and communal harmony: ELECTORAL CANDIDATES SHOULD PROMOTE COMMUNAL HARMONY
JMS campaigned in 50 villages coming under three legislative constituencies – Manvi, Sindhanur and Maski – of Raichru district. They also submitted charter of demands: the demands included right of the communities for basic necessities –
(1) basic primary health care services should be made available for all in the government primary health centres
(2) Reform of the public distribution system and alternative arrangements of PDS for those who are deprived of it due to the bio-metric system
(3) Ensuring proper functioning and accountability of gram panchayats – regular conduct of gram sabhas and inquiry should be held in all the GPs on the irregularity of allocation of welfare schemes in the last five years
(4) Ensure timely and regular reach of all social security schemes especially pensions to the needy
(5) No contesting candidate should promote or encourage communal conflicts and they should promote communal harmony.
Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan (JMS) is a rural Dalit women agricultural laborers’s collective in the district of Raichur, Karnataka. The leadership is entirely of Dalit (Indigenous) women. The campaign is wholly led by women.
Health rights issue has been particularly marginalized in the social movements’ domain and health issues continue to remain within the techno- bureaucratic stranglehold of experts, researchers and the like. Health NGOs which have been in the forefront of policy making have been gate-keeping this issue and infanticising communities on the pretext that “communities do not understand the larger political issues of health care policy”. The campaign led by JMS women is counter-narrative against the NGOised, apolitical practices and processes of NGOised approach to health rights while simultaneously striving to hold the governments of the day accountable. JMS work and practice in the context of the present Campaign therefore provides insights for health activism in general and for community led practices in health rights realization in particular.
The JMS campaign provided an insight into what goes into the making of a marginalized women-led health rights initiative. Their capacity was built through workshops, discussions, and other participatory processes. A pictorial tool developed not only helped them understand their entitlements, but also allowed them to lead the communities with the power of knowledge, and their collective power allowed them take the feedback and demand to the policy spaces. The maternal health rights campaign that was woven around the processes of this community based evidence for maternal health rights of Dalit women, focused primarily on two key dimensions: one, empowered community leadership and two, claiming and accessing spaces of policies for community feed back and improvement of the overall health system.
The advocacy processes and capturing policy spaces: (more…)
Ragalaparvi PHC gets an additional nurse, the very next day of public rally – impact of JMS campaign for maternal health rights
Pursuant to the vigorous campaign which included village marches, rally at the tehshil place, addressing the press which highlighted the systemic gaps which adversely affected Dalit women, JMS started following up with the villages and the Primary Health Centres in the villages. Meetings were held in Dumthi Village (Sindhanur taluka/tehshil) and Ragalparvi PHC (Sindhanur Tehshil) where a public hearing was held. On 16 January 2018, eight days after the public rally, an hour long discussion was held with the medical officer at the PHC.
The medical officer gave the good news – the very next day after the rally, a new nurse has been appointed to the PHC, thus increasing the strength of the staff. They were extremely happy and thanked JMS, that it is their struggle that has resulted in this change.
An additional nurse certainly brings smiles in the PHC as more women can be attended to, more time can be given to each of the woman who comes to PHC, and also provides to the overburdened staff. The women in the nearby Dumthi village have now planned to go to another PHC to talk and do the follow up with the staff of the PHC.
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Increasing incidence of maternal deaths and poor quality of antenatal (ANC) services in Hyderabad Karnataka region of the state prompted the Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan (JMS) to undertake a survey in 30 villages coming under the 7 PHC areas in Sindanoor and Manvi taluks of Raichur district. The survey was anchored by the leaders of JMS themselves in an attempt to systematically document access and quality of ANCfor women from the Dalit Madiga community in terms of:
• The quality of AN care women were receiving in government health facilities
• The extent to which women were forced to seek AN care in the private sector
• The out of pocket expenses incurred by pregnant women and their families in the private sector
• Various kinds of health problems suffered by pregnant women
• Outcomes of pregnancy
• Issues related to newborn care
Leaders from JMS used a modified pictorial survey tool to gather data over a two month period. Data was gathered from a total of 234 women from the Madiga community who had delivered in the village in the past one year preceding the survey. The data was then entered into SPSS for analysis.
Based on the survey analysis, deficiencies of services were found in ante-natal, child birth and post-natal services. The following point towards some of the significant deficies in services:
Narsamma and Sunandamma, senior women leaders of Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan, received Bodhivardhana award on the occasion of Ambedkar’s Jayanthi, on April 14, 2017 in Bengaluru. This is a recognition of their relentless community leadership for over a decade and their contribution to make Madiga Dalit Womens’ voices heard.
Narasamma, 38, hails from Kotnekal village of Manvi taluka (Raichur district) and has been the strong pillar for building JMS collective. She is a leader who is applauded for her insights and frontline leadership.
Sunandamma, 37, belongs to Amareshwara Camp, Manvi Taluka (Raichur District). She is active in JMS as a community leader and sanchalaki (co-convener) of JMS for the last 10 years. She is also trained as community health worker at JMS.
This award is accepted by JMS as recognition of Dalit women’s assertion for their space and rights. Drawing strength from this acknowledgement, Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane continues its journey for social Justice.
Jagruatha Mahila Sanghatane (JMS), Navajeevana Mahila Okkoota (NJMO) and the Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali (KJC) had called for a Public dialogue in Sindanoor and Manvi Talukas in Raichur district Karnataka in July 2016.
Nearly 250 people, mostly Dalit women from 20 villages came together for a Jana samvada (Public dialogue) in Sindanoor taluka hospital to resolve long pending problems of the taluka hospital. This is one of the series of public demonstrations that they have been doing for reviving the taluka hospital to its fullest potential.
In the public dialogue issues related to basic amenities like lack of drinking and running water, filthy conditions, rampant bribe by staff including doctors were raised and discussed. Even though the District health officer and the Taluk health officer had been intimated in prior and they had agreed to participate, neither of them turned up.
Under pressure the Chief medical officer and staff of the hospital held a meeting with the Activists. CMO agreed that water and poor upkeep were problems and they will attend to it. He also said that out of the total 11 positions of doctors sanctioned only 5 are presently working.
Activists raised the issue of bribe by staff and doctors and to this CMO, said he has information about it but needs complaints on paper. Activists insisted that the Jana samvada itself was proofs that of bribe taking and he should bring it to the notice of his higher ups. To ensure that people don’t get confused between User fees charges and bribe, he said he would put up boards about cost of services.When the issue of Arogya Raksha Samiti was raised. He has agreed to put up names of Arogya raksha Samiti members. With reference to the staffing CMO responded that not many doctors get recruited even if they do, they don’t last long. This is a serious problem that even the district hospital is facing.
CLAIMING DIGNITY AND JUSTICE – The Photo Feature of JMS: Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane (JMS), the collective of Dalit (Madiga) Women Agricultural Labourers in Raichur District (Karnataka – India) symbolises the struggle and a long process of women from the most marginalised community for their autonomy and dignity. At the occasion of crossing the landmark of surviving for about 17 years as a small but powerful symbol of Dalit wWmen’s empowerment, JMS has brought out this photo-essay to capture the key milestones of their journey of struggle – Claiming Dignity and Justice.