Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"When I came here... I became a human being."
December 11, 2008 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Necessary Angels. They are not doctors. They are not nurses. They are illiterate women from India's Untouchable castes. Yet as trained village health workers, they are delivering babies, curing disease, and saving lives—including their own. Photo Gallery. Video.
posted by amyms (14 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was a great article. Thanks for posting this.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:38 AM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Medicine is not only a technical subject, it's a social subject," says Dr. Raj Arole, co-founder of CRHP. "Technology is driving our attention away from basic health care."

So very true. These photographs are amazing.
posted by Tehanu at 8:41 AM on December 11, 2008


"An educated woman likely comes from a high caste—she may not [want to] work for the poorest of the poor," says Arole. The Aroles believed that empathy, knowledge of how poor people live, and willingness to work were more important than skills and prestige.


I am one of you and being one of you
Is being and knowing what I am and know.
posted by mandal at 8:45 AM on December 11, 2008


The Aroles believed that empathy, knowledge of how poor people live, and willingness to work were more important than skills and prestige.

This reminds me of how Florence Nightingale chose her Crimean nurses from among many applicants. She avoided those who had an overly romantic idea of what nursing in the Crimea would be like, and chose those who were willing and able to scrub floors.
posted by orange swan at 9:08 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Comprehensive Rural Health Project of Jamkhed mentioned in the article has a website that includes a donation link and a list of ways to get involved.
posted by jeeves at 9:28 AM on December 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


A manual for village health workers was linked to on Meta or Ask a few months ago in response to one of those "should I go to the ER or what?" questions, and now I can't find it. I was fascinated by the manual and read sections of it for over an hour. I can't believe I didn't bookmark it. I hope the person who linked it shows up in this thread and does so again.

One thing I can't help but think of when I read these sorts of articles is how health in industrialized nations is almost entirely divorced from practicality. It makes me have visions of a future where everyone gets access to inexpensive but effective healthcare that is only rarely mediated by doctors, and sleep, exercise, water, fruits, and vegetables are prescribed more often than antibiotics.

Another thing I can't help but think of is how weird it is that reading about health workers in third and second world communities somehow manage to make me feel something close to jealousy.
posted by Nonce at 9:39 AM on December 11, 2008


A manual for village health workers was linked to on Meta or Ask a few months ago in response to one of those "should I go to the ER or what?" questions, and now I can't find it.

I think it was When There Is No Doctor, but I can't find the exact thread in which it was mentioned.
posted by amyms at 9:43 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oops, that's WHERE There Is No Doctor. And, the MetaFilter search engine doesn't like multiple words, but I found some Google results for mentions of the book on Metafilter and AskMetafilter.
posted by amyms at 9:48 AM on December 11, 2008


Amyms, that's it exactly. Thanks for finding it.
posted by Nonce at 10:24 AM on December 11, 2008


(The thread on "Where There is No Doctor" is here.)
posted by Upton O'Good at 10:57 AM on December 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


For India, this looks like a very nice village. I think something like 70% of India's billion+ people live in villages. Caste differences are still very much apparent, even more so than the progressive cities (where marriage columns still divide by caste). Medicine is indeed not just a technical subject, its social function is probably more important, and the delicate role it plays within different cultures makes it out to be more of an art than a science. This is a good article to see, thank you.
posted by ageispolis at 12:26 PM on December 11, 2008


Thanks amyms. It is always nice to be reminded that people can have a positive impact in their community.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 12:26 PM on December 11, 2008


I am one of you and being one of you
Is being and knowing what I am and know.

Yet I am the necessary angel of earth,
Since, in my sight, you see the earth again,

Cleared of its stiff and stubborn, man-locked set,
And, in my hearing, you hear its tragic drone

- Wallace Stevens
posted by ageispolis at 12:30 PM on December 11, 2008


This was an incredibly read. Thank you.
posted by Hactar at 8:20 PM on December 11, 2008


« Older Recently a puppy webcam became so incredibly popul...  |  Just Like The Movies. Michal ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments