Surat Arogya Samvad - Event Note

“Surat Arogya Samvad” is a community health dialogue forum. It aims to exchange scientific and local climate and health information among citizens. ‘Samvad’ is organized periodically at one of the central venues of city with a dedicated theme. Event is publicized through newspaper, broachers and social media to attract various sections of society. UHCRC has successfully completed 6 Samvad events based on themes like gender links with climate and health, heat stress, water related diseases, swine flu etc.

The broad objectives of a forum are
To enhance overall community participation in Urban Health planning
To capture community’s worldview in health and climate matters and utilize it in resilience planning
To educate community members about urban health and climate change

Overview of Surat Arogya Samvad events

Sr.No. Theme Participants Date Venue Partnership
1 Introductory 31 2-1-2014 SGCCI SGCCI
2 Gender, climate & health 30 14-2-2014 SGCCI SGCCI Women’s wing
3 Heat stress 43 23-5-2014 SGCCI SGCCI
4 Monsoon & water related diseases 28 12-10-2014 SGCCI Government Medical college, Surat & SGCCI
5 Climate smart healthy children 32 citizens + 150 students 23-1-2015 Shardayatan school Shardayatan school
6 Stand against Swine Flu 118 students 19-2-2015 Shardayatan school Shardayatan school

To ensure sustainability of Surat Aarogya Samvad, UHCRC has recently joined hands with Indian Medical Association (IMA), Surat.

GCC ladies wing- introductory note

Participants Self connection with nature

Creative expression by participants through art

Creative expression by participants through art

This serves as a local multidisciplinary technical group (public health, social science, urban planning) of academicians and professionals, unlike Samvad which is open forum for citizens. HSWG intends meaningful advocacy and recommendations for Municipal Corporation. Apart from 2 focused events (with themes vector borne disease control and heat stress), HSWG is currently spreading its arms through informal consultations and academic collaborations.

To ensure its sustainability, UHCRC has recently carried out MOU with Government Medical College, Surat (GMCS) to continue Healthy Surat Working Group events. The recent HSWG was organized by GMCS on theme “Road traffic accidents”.

Preliminary TOR of Healthy Surat Working Group:
Healthy Surat working group will work as a local technical advisory body
UHCRC will inform all members of the Healthy Surat working group and take their consents.
UHCRC will organize city level consultation/ meeting/ workshops/ conference of the Healthy Surat working group and other invitees
UHCRC shall on internet regularly interact with Healthy Surat working group members for the technical guidance and suggestions
UHCRC shall form a local network of institutions of the members of Healthy Surat working group for technical collaborations
Healthy Surat working group shall be invitee in the state, national and International events organised by UHCRC

Guidance, support and contribution of the Healthy Surat working group members shall be duly recognised in the documents of UHCRC

Photographic journey of HSWG 1

Introduction of concept of UHCRC and Healthy Surat working group

Insecticidal officer Dr. Vaishnav presenting VBDC surveillance system of SMC

Group interaction

Role play

Historically Surat was famous for its food, its culinary practices and the passion of Surtis (native of Surat) for variety of local recipes. Surat seasonal food recepies from local exclusive variety of vegetables and tender millets was promoting food tourism, attracting visitors from different states to enjoy these delicacies. It was believed that Surat River (Tapi) water and soil of the neighbourhood had a significant contribution to the taste of local famous recipes.

Rapid urbanisation, industrialisation , highest migration rate in the country , eight times increase in contribution of cancer, diabetes, cardio vascular diseases to total deaths in last decade along with rapid climate changes on record is a health, nutrition and social challenge for city of Surat (India). This prosperous city in its race of economic growth , influence of process of acculturation, shrinking agriculture land, reduced green cover, increasing vehicular emissions is struggling to sustain its food ways. Added to this is a stress of cost of vegetables , safety of vegetables (Colours, pesticides, fertilisers)is increasing health and nutrition risks to the citizens.

The formative research with quantitative and qualitative methods (2013-2015) in population representing all sector of the society highlighted the need of conscious efforts in this arena. A multi-stakeholder consortium called “Surat Alliance for Urban Agriculture and Resilience (SAUAR)” was formed by academia, non-governmental organizations in June 2015.

Aim of SAUAR is to promote domestic agriculture in the city towards health, nutrition and climate resilience. Activities under SAUAR included citizens trainings, problem-solving and handholding support through social media, city events and exhibitions to promote the idea, peer group formation to ensure sustained interest and documentation of experience.

A preliminary follow up study of SAUAR beneficiaries (202 by now) revealed that more than 150 have attempted or are successfully practicing growing domestic vegetable. Majority are using terrace and Balcony space, are satisfied with handholding by technical experts through social media and are in a process of peer promotion.

SAUAR has initiated with baby steps for turning the urban food challenges into opportunities by promoting the culture of household level urban agriculture practices, also to promote local variety of vegetables and ignite community contribution to health nutrition and climate change through food way .

Overview of activities conducted under SAUAR

Sr.No. Overview of activities conducted under SAUAR Remark
1 Formal SAUAR formation event on 5th June 2015 (World Environment Day) Event was attended by more than 100 citizens and the concept of SAUAR was explained through presentations.
2 Stakeholder engagement through occasional meetings 6 meetings were conducted till date for timely decisions
3 Formal MOU was signed  
4 7 trainings were conducted till January 2016 covering 202 participants including general citizens, anganwadi workers and sakhi mandals Trainings were conducted for 3 days at KVK
5 Regular handholding and support to participants through whatsapp Each training batch has formed a whatsapp group where KVK trainers solve querries of those who are attempting the practice.
6 Participation in 2 city level exhibitions for promotion The willing visitors are enrolled for training through exhibitions
7 Preliminary assessment of practice through interviews of trainees In progress

One of the key findings of UHCRC formative research was possible and potential role of adolescents in building resilience especially suitable to complex urban context. Adolescents as a future of society and nation need to make informed decisions and participate being community links as students, workers, consumers, care-givers. They have the capacity to be energetic and influential proponents of climate change and health adaptation in their families, peers, schools and communities.

This forum looks after involvement of “next generation” and works on “peer education” basis. The battalion of one school is imparting the knowledge, skills and attitudes of “healthy living action” towards “Climate resilience” to that of another school with vigour and creativity. Malaria-dengue fight, action against swine-flu, insist for motorbike pooling, food safety, healthy diet practices, green Surat, saving electricity – such climate and health messages are being discussed, demonstrated and acted upon by youngsters. Peer education model “Student to student” is creating more interest and dialogue amongst recipient Peers. Many “peer” recipients from one school are willingly joining as peer educators for other schools, thus facilitating rapid spread of activity. A peer school educators model is also spreading its head towards “out of school” children.

How can the youngsters lag behind in developing next generation strategies? Of course, the approach is completely creative and new. To quote few examples – mosquito breeding site mapping of school, climate smart fancy dress show, picturing 2006 flood resilience of Surat, swine flu action skits and so on.

Youngsters are eligible recipients and eligible providers of resilience measures and Surat city has taken a step to build community resilience by joining hands of youngsters.

To ensure its sustainability, UHCRC has recently carried out MOU with Shardayatan school, Surat to continue this program.

UHCRC has also developed “Climate smart healthy children - training tool-kit” for schools from this experience.

Youngsters mapping mosquito breeding in their school with a community health worker

Dramatizing the Swine Flu resilience

Picturing the climate resilience