Integrated Rural Health and Development Project

Locations: Aghai, Shahpur Taluk

Sponsor: Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Integrated Rural health and development project (IRHDP) has been functional since 1986 in the village of Aghai , situated in Shahapur Taluk. Till date this project has taken various steps at various levels for the development of the ‘Adhivasis’ or the Tribal people. The main tribal populations that cover these regions are the Konkana, Katkari and Varli tribes.

Context:

Aghai is one of the Village in Shahapur Taluk in Thane District in Maharashtra State situated to the Westside of the Sahyadri Ghats. It is located14.9 km distance from its Taluk Main Town Shahapur. Aghai is 47.9 km far from its District Main City Thane . Shahpur Taluk is areawise the biggest Taluka in Thane district. It is midway between Mumbai and Nashik (90km. from Mumbai and 95Km from Nasik). It is a developing town with a population of around 11,000 and a floating population of over 25000. The entire land is rocky and has a mountainous slope. The Tansa Wild Life Forest and the Tansa Lake have taken away 90 percent of the land. The project area includes 18 villages and 20 Padas.

These villages are at distance of 50kms to 100kms from the modern cities of Thane and Mumbai respectively. This area lacks in the basic needs like water, appropriate nutirtion, proper connectivity to roads, primary and livelihood options. Governmental schemes have never reached the tribal people because of their lack of awareness and craeting a gap between programs and deserving people. They live in a vicious cycle of poverty and vulnerable to expoliattive labour markets who hire their labour for negligible amount. The number of landless families is higher and thus every year there is an increase in the number of people who have to migrate to other villages for employment. As they migrate to work on brick-kilns, at construction sites, for tree cutting, or on farming activities their children’s education remains incomplete andtheir children too get engaged in such unskilled labour seeking lower wages. And all of this being the proximal determinants of health influence the well being of the people. There are documents from PHC and IRHDP, which indicates the poor health indicators and appropriate access to health facilities. In this given context, the Centre for Health and Mental Health, has been working in Aghai on the “social deteminants” frame with a overall development focus.

The project has gone thorugh various phases since 1986 under the leadership of many facultymembers and the objectives of the project also eveolved over the years and since 2007, the project is working on the following objectives.

Intervention areas: Palichapada, Jambhul pada, Mali pada, Nevrepada and Hasnepada.