The mission of the Department of Community Medicine is to create a model for decentralized community health care delivery, to develop networking with other organizations, to initiate policy advocacy for health needs of the underprivileged section of the community, to conduct and promote research on priority health problems and to develop doctors with a service orientation towards underprivileged communities.
The Department has been implementing community-based programs to enhance health care services to the rural communities. It has adopted four PHCs; Anji, Gaul, Kharangana and Talegaon with a population of more than 120,000 and developed a model of decentralized healthcare delivery at village level through community- based organizations and the Panchayati Raj Institutions. It has formed 277 Self-help groups, 10 Kisan Vikas Manch and 89 Kishori Panchayat in the adopted villages which provide a platform for dissemination of behaviour change communication messages. It runs community outreach clinics in 25 villages to take curative health care to the rural populace. Through innovative strategies, family life education is provided to adolescent girls both in schools and out of schools in all the program villages.
The Department runs General OPD within the Kasturba Hospital which acts as a replica of a primary health center under a tertiary health care setting. It is the first contact point for all patients visiting the OPD of Kasturba Hospital. The General OPD also has Maternal and Child Care cell, psychosocial cell, leprosy treatment cell, DOTS centre and microscopy centre.
The Department strives to provide the best learning opportunity to medical students through its innovative community-based medical education. For each batch of medical students, the Institute adopts a village. In this village, each student adopts 3-4 families covering the entire village. Initially, a 15-day residential camp is organized in the village when the students build rapport with the family members and facilitate the health examination and treatment of the villagers. The residential camp is followed by a monthly visit to adopted families for the next three years. Through these visits the students take care of the health care needs of their adopted families. Through the village adoption scheme, students learn about rural life, environmental sanitation, socio-economic conditions, and health problems of the community. In 2015-16, the department has developed a complementary e-learning course for the community-based medical education.
During the third year of medical education, a 15-day residential camp is organized at one of the Rural Health Training Centers of the Institute. This camp helps the students understand the rural health care infrastructure available in India. During the third year, a workshop on research methodology is organized for the students. Thereafter, groups of students undertake improvement projects concerned with sanitation, drinking water, nutrition, immunization and other relevant issues.
The Department of Community Medicine is actively involved in conducting community-based health research through partnership with various national and international agencies. The thrust areas of research include developing a decentralized model of health care delivery for rural areas, safe motherhood and child survival and life-style disorders.
The Department is actively involved in networking with various organizations to promote community health and social justice. It also maintains a liaison with the Government and other organizations as a matter of policy advocacy. We have developed an excellent partnership with the District Health System to whom we provide technical support for training and implementation of community-based programs.