We met up her in the throes of grief, in a socially, emotionally, physically and financially disabled state. The community volunteer, Sahaya Leela, was able to recognise her need through the training she had received. She was able to sensitise Paniyamma to the need of help after multiple visits with her and her family.
The whole team, including the community volunteer, community coordinator, social workers and specialist psychosocial health professionals, put in an effort over the next year to draw her back into life step by step. She required a short course of drugs and investigations, all of which were provided without financial burden, thanks to cbm support. This was especially important as the society’s means of fishing was impaired due to community disruption, and loss of boats and equipment following the Tsunami.
The creation of a primary care system
The post-disaster work was embedded within care for all physical problems with the setting up of a community clinic at Colachel, so that her medical needs were also addressed. All the treatment for her psychosocial health problems was through this clinic, thus ensuring that no unwanted stigma was brought about. This linking of services is in line with WHO recommendations.
Eventually she started attending church and speaking to neighbours again. She attended a wedding in the village after one and a half years wearing a new silk sari with tears in her eyes.
Empowerment through self help and income generation