By the Brahmaputra (January – March 2018)

By the Brahmaputra (Vol: 41)

C-NES Newsletter   

(For the Quarter January – March 2018)


Women’s Day at Radio Brahmaputra

On the occasion of Women’s Day, a group of women from Maijan Nahor Line gathered at the Radio Brahmaputra studio on 8th March 2018 to listen to a Women’s Day special program and share their opinions live, on issues relevant to them and share their ideas and messages to society. One of them remarked that society must change their views towards widows.

The station started with initial support from UNICEF and like other C-NES projects and programmes, it is an innovative effort to reach the marginalized and the poor with new ideas, opportunities, giving them a platform to speak and perform in their own voices and access to better lives. It runs radio plays and programmes on issues as diverse as domestic violence, substance abuse, sanitation, safe drinking water, nutrition for children, the need for sustained health care and educating the girl child. The emphasis is on better access to rights and services through clear information, delivered with entertainment and energy.

Strangers No More, launched

Sanjoy Hazarika’s new book launched at the India International Centre, New Delhi, released by Justice Madan Lokur.

Managing Trustee Sanjoy Hazarika spoke on his new book, Strangers No More, and issues of the North East at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani (BITS Pilani), a premier academy of higher education in India on 25th Februaray 2018. He also spoke on impunity and the law, human rights and CHRI as well as the boat clinics. Attended by over 200 students,he  answered their questions and signed books afterwards. His book was launched on Feb 12th 2018 at the India International Centre, New Delhi, released by Justice Madan Lokur.

Sanjoy Hazarika’s new book launched at the India International Centre, New Delhi, released by Justice Madan Lokur.

On 8th February, he spoke on a panel at the Kolkata lit fest on “The Right to be Heard” at Central Park, Salt Lake. The other panelists’ were Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Sudeep Chakravarti, Tara June Winch, Makenzy Orcel and Shumona Sinha. The session, moderated by Sujoy Bhattacharya discussed how the voices of different communities are coming alive through literature. Earlier at Tezpur University, on January 11th, he chaired a panel on fiction and nonfiction writing from the region at the International conference of NE scholars. The panel included writers of different genres — each of very different styles, covering social and political issues, poetry and murder mysteries including Preeti Gill, literary agent, editor and C-NES Trustee. The theme of the conference, held every two years, was Locating North East India– Human Mobility, Resource Flows and Spatial Linkages. The previous evening Hazarika introduced Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue in Dhaka and one of Bangladesh’s most influential thinkers and economists. He had come for the first time to the NE and delivered a remarkable inaugural address on what must change and how for a new South Asia to happen. Hazarika’s film Rambuia, Mizoram’s Trouble Years was screened and his new book launched.  On Jan 26th Hazarika read from his essays in Namita Gokhale’s The Himalayan Arc at the Jaipur Lit Fest. The Himalayan Arc – edited by Namita Gokhale, has essays by Prajwal Parajuly, Ma Thida, John Elliott, Salil Tripathi Sanjoy Hazarika, Janice Pariat and many others.  

On Feb 28th Hazarika spoke at Amritsar’s Guru Nanak Dev University to over 100 students and faculty with VC Dr Sandhu present. The theme was from North by North-East, moving from impunity to equality, looking at rise of alienation and distance, state violence, Afspa, insurgency and other issues. Rambuia, the documentary on Mizoram’s troubled decades and how people have tried to handle trauma was screened.

The MD, NHM Dr J.V.N Subramanyam (left), briefing about Boat Clinics to the Assam Chief Secretary, T.Y Das  at the Xahayika Samaruh, organized by NHM and Social Welfare Dept. at Guwahati’s Kalakhetra , on 22nd March 2018.



World Bank Dialogue

The North East Region (NER) with its special opportunities and challenges has, over the last few years, emerged as an important area of engagement for the World Bank Group (WBG). The WBG is launching preparations for formulating the Country Partnership Framework (CPF), a roadmap that will determine the Group’s engagement in India over the next four years.  A series of consultations with a range of stakeholders have been planned across various states to steer this important process and discuss the challenges facing India today, the manner in which the WBG can better support the country’s development agenda and for achieving the goals of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. Manik Boruah, Associate Program Manager and .Bhaswati Goswami, Communications Officer, C-NES participated and shared their perspective in the WBG Country Engagement Dialogue 2017-18 at Guwahati on 13th February 2018 .The discussion was chaired by Junaid Ahmad World Bank Country Director, India at the Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development (OKDISCD), Guwahati

Swapna Das DPO Barpeta Unit II delivering a talk to ANMs of Mandia Block PHC at a training cum microplan preparation on rubella vaccination at Barpeta on 28th March 2018


 Boat Clinic lauded

DPO, Jorhat Boat Clinic Riturekha Baruah speaking on the occasion

The DPO Jorhat Boat Clinic Unit Riturekha Baruah was invited to attend an anti-tobacco reorientation training on Tobacco cessation and ill effects as the chief guest on 23rd December 2017. The training was held for all Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) staff of Jorhat and health educators. The ADC health Topon Gohain was present. It needs mention that Jorhat RNTCP was given the first rank in an all India basis for reaching out to marginallised communities with help of Jorhat Boat Clinic. On 23rd November 2017, the Mission Director NHM felicitated Dr. Bhaktimoy Bhattacharya, (DTO Jorhat RNTCP) and his team in recognition of the dedicated services and contribution towards TB control activities in the district. At the training the work of the Boat Clinic was appreciated. Ways to work together in future was discussed with the DPO.


Technology Vision 2035 

A day long dissemination workshop organized by Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Dept. of Science and Technology, GoI, New Delhi, for NE India, at the Regional Science Centre, National Council for Science Museum (NCSM), Jawahar Nagar, Khanapara, Guwahati was held on 15th February, 2018 on Technology Vision 2035. Ashok Rao, Program Manager and Dr. CR Hira, Technical Consultant, C-NES attended the programme. The vision documents were prepared by a group of eminent scientists from various organizations like Bionic Organs, Eye, Supersonic travel, new-technological development  in organic farming etc. Sandra Roberts, Director IIPH, Shillong an associate partner of C-NES, on implementation SALT technique for community development through Constellation, Belgium also made a short presentation on the topic. Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Padma Vibhushan Awardee, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, and presently Chairman, TIFAC addressed the gathering.


Building a Health Ecosystem


Ashok Rao, Program Manager, C-NES along with Dr. CR Hira, Tech. Consultant (Health), C-NES participated in a Healthcare Symposium organized by Integra Ventures on the theme “Building a Healthcare Ecosystem” on 17th February, 2018 at Sankardev Netralaya, Beltola, Guwahati. Around 150 delegates from Assam, Arunachal, Meghalaya attended the Symposium. Anurag Goel, IAS, Commissioner & Secretary, Health & FW Deptt. GoA was the Chief Guest in the inaugural session.


EVAL FEST 2018: Visibility, Voice and Value

The SALT team also participated in the poster presentation highlighting the project being implement.

Evaluation Community of India (ECI) with support from International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, Campbell Collaboration, IIHMR Delhi, OXFAM, UNFPA, CMS India, ImpactReady and others held a workshop from 7th to 9th February 2018 at New Delhi called Eval Fest 2018. The purpose of the workshop was to get to gather institutions and organizations working with research and evaluation of programs and projects including organizations implementing project in the field. The first day was a satellite program which discussed ethical standards in social research and evaluation organized by Center for Media Studies (CMS). Reaching out to the right voice in the age of big data by Oxfarm India.

The main workshop was from the 8th to 9th Feb.’18 at India Habitat Centre where different sessions were held on high quality evaluation and the importance of stakeholder engagement, new frontiers for evaluation in the context of SDGs. An interesting session was held called Innovation Evaluation Bazaar where C-NES Program Manager Mr. Ashok Rao and Bongaigaon SALT Project Coordinator Mr. Jahirul Choudhury participated. There were 7 stalls and the participating organizations had to market/sell their innovative idea or concept. The C-NES team highlighted the project being implemented in 3 districts of Assam by C-NES in Bongaigaon & VHAA in Kamrup (R) and Udalguri, on impact assessment of the SALT (Stimulate, Appreciate, Listen/learn and Transfer/transform) approach for community engagement to increase immunization coverage in 90 villages of Assam in the 3 districts. The team specially wanted to sell the idea of community engagement or involvement in evaluation through the self-assessment module being implemented where the communities themselves evaluate their level under different practices. Mr. Jahirul Choudhury was given the responsibility to market among people who came to the stall.


VVGNLI-TISS (Guwahati) Workshop

On 16th and 17th March 2018, a workshop, “Effective Implementation of Social Protection Programmes in North-East India: Way Forward”, was organised jointly by Centre for North East India, V.V Giri National Labour Institute, Noida, India and Centre for Labour Studies & Social Protection, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati campus at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati campus. The main aim of this workshop was to make the participants aware on the basics of social protection, the schemes and the ways forward for implementation. There were participants from about 6 organizations, students of TISS (G) and NERIM, Guwahati. From C-NES there were 3 participants- Monjur Hussain Mondol, DPO Bongaigaon, Shyamjit Pashi, DPO Morigaon, Assam and Mayuri Bharali, Research Consultant Public Health Foundation of India, (PHFI) Delhi. The first day of the workshop carried few lecture sessions, which were conducted on Labour, Employment & Social Protection in North East India, by the Speaker- Dr. Otojit Kshetrimayum, which was followed by Speaker Prof. Kalyan Das on Informal Sector Workers: Insecurities and risks at work, and was further followed by another speaker Dr. Syed Kazi on Strengthening information flow and management of Social Protection Programmes/ Government Schemes for empowerment and good governance in Assam alongwith activities organised to encourage interaction among the participants of different organisations as well as with the organisers.  On the second day, the workshop consisted of a panel discussion consisting of 7 themes, Information and Services: Access delivery –  about the sources to provide information among the people, ways to make them aware of things and how to build a bridge between the schemes initiated and implementing it by the process of involvement. Monjur Mondol, from C-NES provided a description of the SALT ( Stimulate, Appreciate, Learn and Transfer), approach of community mobilization in Bongaigaon district of Assam which further inspired many of the participants.  


Successful  Vitamin A Round

In November 2017 the Bongaigaon Boat Clinic, like all other Boat Clinic units successfully conducted the special Vitamin-A solution biannual round at different river island villages being covered by the boat clinics. The programme started from 1st Nov and continued throughout the month. Relevant materials like tally and monitoring sheets along with the Vitamin -A solution  were collected from the respective block PHCs (Boitamari & Srijangram) by the ANM daily and reports were submitted regularly as per guideline. There were some key strategies applied to bring the children during the programme such as community meetings where the Joint Director of health services took part (at Satsobigha), village meetings, drama, sweet distribution, recreational activity and giving information to villagers and Angadwadi Centres. The Boat Clinic community workers played an active role and they were in regular contact with all AWW centres and ASHAs for maximum coverage and helped the communities understand the usefulness of the Vit-A.  It was a successful 69.52% achievement where 1045 children were given the solution.


Dental Awareness Camps

Bongaigaon: In addition to general health checkups the Jorhat and Bongaigaon Boat Clinic Boat Clinics provides dental health services for the riverine people.  Dr. Rupam Choudhary conducts the Bongaigaon Boat Clinic dental camps twice a month. Before conducting each camp the health team informs villagers about the schedule. Each dental camp begins with an awareness programme on oral health before the screening and curative treatment.


In February 2018, special dental awareness camps were organised in various islands of Majuli by the Jorhat Boat Clinic. Children here do not have the habit of brushing their teeth. Dentist Dr. Bibhash Saikia taught them how to clean their teeth. The boat clinic unit provided free distribution of toothbrushes and pastes to the children of the island villages.



DC visits Goalpara Boat Clinic Unit


On 10th of February, 2018 the District Commissioner, Ghanshyam Das along with Joint Director Health Services and officials in charge of Char PHC, SDM&HO, BPHC accompanied the Goalpara Boat Clinic team on a health Camp. A village level meeting was organized in presence of local panchayat members.

Earlier in January 2018, the District Health Society Goalpara awarded the Goalpara Boat Clinic in the District level tableau presentation on Republic Day at Goalpara.  for char areas



Successful Family Planning Initiatives
Barpeta II

Family Planning is an important topic for awareness and discussions in all boat clinic health camps. The teams have been able to convince the communities about the benefits of planning family size and need to have a small family. On 7th December, 2017 the Boat Clinic Barpeta Unit II team was able to successfully motivate two beneficiaries to undergo NSV sterilization at Gahia MPHC conducted by Dr.Nurul Hoque (NSV surgeon). In this particular successful intervention it was the  the boat crew master Yeasin Ali who was responsible for motivating the beneficiaries aided by the  team who made home visits for NSV counselling. Coming from the same village- Rowmari Char, as the beneficiaries he could motivate them. On 11th December 2017 another NSV was conducted on a beneficiary from the same char village at Gahia PHC motivated by the team members



Motivated by the Sonitpur Boat Clinic team five women from Alitengoni char underwent laparoscopic surgery on 18th December 2017  at the Kanaklata Civil Hospital under the teams initiative. Out of five, one was the village ASHA named Ms Hasina Khatoon . The photograph shows CW Mofidul Islam taking beneficiaries to Civil hospital for LS along with ASHAs



On 27th of March, 2018 the Goalpara Boat Clinic team conducted 31 IUCDs with the help of a Lady Health Visitor(LHV) at Birshing Helenga char under Agia BPHC. The beneficiaries were motivated during the regular counselling sessions on family planning in the targeted island villages under Agia BPHC. The Boat Clinic Medical Officers guided the beneficiaries about easy family planning methods without surgery.



Neurologist from UK at Boat Clinic

London based neurologist and writer, Dr Julie Phukan visited the Jorhat Boat Clinic Unit in December 2017 to feature the programme with a focus of the technical angle of the Boat Clinics for the UK press. She also conducted a small neurological survey in three islands of Majuli accompanying the health team on regular health camps. She detected two neurology cases and prescribed medicines accordingly. She also met a traditional health practitioner at Bhekeli 1 no sapori. Camp was organized at Bhekeli 1 no sapori .Dr. Juli Phukan visited the village with DPO and talked to the neurology patient.


Documentary Shooting

A documentary on the Jorhat Boat Clinic which has gone solar under the initiative of the Bengaluru based SELCO was shot at island village Missamora 2 no sapori on 23rd  January 2018. It will focus on how solar refrigeration has helped the health team conduct health camps more efficiently. A team from Godrej Company which has provided the refrigerator conducted the shooting.


Challenges of access 


The photographs show the challenges of accessing targeted river island villages for conducting health camps during the dry winter seasons

The Goalpara Boat Clinic team on way to conduct a camp in January 2018. During winters when the river subsides it is a long walk for the teams to interior villages for conducting health camps.

National Deworming day

National Deworming day being observed by the Dhubri Boat Clinic Unit-II on 12th February 2018 at the island village of Chalakura Pt-5. The local ASHA and community workers informed the villagers about the programme in advance. An awareness session on deworming and hygiene was given by Mehebub Alom Hazarika DPO and Dr.Nabakanta Das, Medical Officer. More than 150 numbers villagers were present. After general health checkups and immunization sessions, children from the age group 1  to 19 years were administered albendazole tablets.

Mission Tejaswee

Along with the rest of the units, the Tinsukia Boat Clinic successfully conducted “Mission Tejaswee” from 1st to 31st January 2018 at 17 villages under Nasadiya and Hapjan BPHC.  The mission aims to increase awareness and prevention of anaemia. IFA tablets and syrups are distributed to all pregnant women and children between 6 to 59 months, 5 to 10 years and 11 to 19 years.  It may be mentioned that anaemia is a serious public health problem among pregnant women, infant and young children. The Tinsukia unit covered 2071 children and 30 pregnant women under the programme.

Mission Tejaswee at Nalbari’s Paptamari island village. The Nalbari Boat Clinic using a country boat due to low water levels during winter to cover island villages for Mission Tejaswee


Mission Tejaswee at Bongaigaon. 153 pregnant women and 461 children covered in this mission.



A child in her mother’s lap on way back from the cultivation field being given pulse polio drops in a remote Bongaigaon island village by the community worker of the Boat Clinic unit Satyajit Kalita as part of the Puklse Polio drive in all Boat Clinic units in January 2018.  Intensified Pulse Polio Immunization (IPPI) programme is an immunisation campaign established by the government of India to eliminate poliomyelitis (polio) in India by vaccinating all children under the age of five years against the polio virus every year.

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