Health literacy: An individual’s capacity to understand basic health information and services in order to make informed decisions about his/her health care. 

In rural communities across India, too many people suffer from easily preventable diseases and illnesses. Often times, health problems are caused by a lack of health literacy. 

IPHD started the Health Literacy Project in 2015 by conducting health scans of women in Bhikamkor. The scan revealed that village members were suffering from several serious health issues, including iron-deficiency anemia, malnutrition, dental problems and gynecological issues.

IPHD knew that many of the illnesses and diseases in Bhikamkor could be prevented if community members adopted healthier diets and committed to hygienic practices. To improve health literacy in the village, IPHD employed three Bhikamkor women as health outreach workers in 2017. The health outreach team leads educational campaigns in the village, conducts health scans of community members and oversees operations at the Saheli Health Clinic, an IPHD-operated female health center in Bhikamkor.

Health outreach workers are able to take vitals of women and children and help community members find medical attention. The team receives training from IPHD interns on a variety of topics including basic hygiene, wound care, malaria, nutrition, anemia, dental health, menstrual hygiene, pregnancy and family planning.