Prasanta Tripathy

Ashoka Fellow
,
Fellow Since 2011
Ekjut

Citation

This profile was prepared when Prasanta Tripathy was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Prasanta observed that the death of newborn babies had become so common in rural and tribal areas that women ceased to question why their babies were dying. This helped him see that, the first step to realize health for all was to transform the attitude of communities from being fatalistic to becoming critical and proactive.

Working in the poorest areas with almost no access to primary healthcare, Prasanta capitalizes on the most universal resource—the will of the mothers to ensure healthy lives for their children. He is increasing the ability of mothers and communities—as the first care providers, to identify health problems and respond to them effectively. Local facilitators take groups of women through a series of interactive and reflective activities aimed at increasing their health consciousness and critical-thinking abilities. The group meetings are facilitated with an emphasis on collective problem-solving and planning. They are steered to enable women to identify and prioritize maternal and infant health problems and collectively determine and implement strategies to address them.

In the 200 villages across the states of Jharkhand and Orissa where Ekjut has worked, there has been a 45 percent reduction in infant mortality and 20 percent reduction in maternal mortality in three years. After proving his methodology successful, Prasanta started a new intervention to verify whether community mobilization can be effective in addressing malnutrition. Prasanta explores the efficacy of his work with academic rigor to prove that community participation is a cornerstone for designing effective healthcare systems for the most poor. He is identifying collaborators among state governments, funding agencies, and citizen organizations to replicate his methodology for the rural poor.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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