IN COLLABORATION WITH THE FOUNDATION FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH (FMR) AND SUPPORTED BY VASANT J SHETH MEMORIAL FOUNDATION, 2014-2015
With narrow lanes and the houses standing on the very edge of the Warf, Kaula Bandar, an unregistered urban slum with a population of approximately 10,000 to 15,000 people located on the eastern waterfront of Mumbai, is always bustling with excess crowds, predominantly migrants. Factories and workshops are also located in the middle of this clutter. The houses, which are on an average, sized 8 feet by 10 feet, are poorly ventilated. Thus, on account of the insular nature of the Warf, the entire neighbourhood is both, socially and spatially excluded. The living conditions, as a result, serve as a breeding ground for the rise in Tuberculosis bacteria.
Keeping in mind these social and geographical factors, in February 2014, the neighbourhood was selected for a Community-based Participatory Research and Action project to develop a methodology for active case finding for TB in an urban community.
The project was undertaken in two phases:
Starting in March 2014, the first phase focused on creating general awareness on the causes, symptoms and treatment of TB. PUKAR’s Barefoot Researchers in the neighbourhood were trained in the knowledge of TB, its spread and all the related issues. Community film screenings were organised by the Barefoot Researchers along the narrow lanes of the neighbourhood besides public spaces, private homes, etc. Following the film screenings, focus group discussions were organised with the locals to realise their understanding of TB. By helping organise and set up these events besides taking part in them, the Barefoot Researchers also strengthened their own knowledge and understanding of TB. This phase thus, helped them prepare for the community-based participatory research work that they further undertook in the second phase of the project. The first phase of the project came to an end in June 2014.
Starting in December 2014, the focus of the second phase of the project for PUKAR was on training the Barefoot Researchers to undertake detailed household surveys to help detect chest symptomatics and refer them for a Chest X-ray in a local lab that had been identified by PUKAR. On account of the on-ground challenges faced by the locals in relation with the Mumbai Port Trust land development issue, the project was temporarily brought to a halt in the last week of January 2015. Several settlements were demolished by the governing authorities by naming them “illegal”.
The project work resumed in the last week of February 2015, and the Barefoot Researchers completed the data collection process in March 2015.The collected data will be submitted to FMR for analysis. Based on the collected data, PUKAR will set out on a more sustainable awareness drive in the final leg of the project. The project will draw to a close in August 2015.