posted by Susan Warren
The Ella Lyman Cabot Trust has generously awarded $19,900 to Nyaya Health for the development of a Women’s Center in collaboration with Architecture for Humanity Boston.The Women’s Center is an innovative project that combines two complementary strategies to improve health: 1) implementation of evidence-based architectural features in the design of patient facilities, operating rooms and inpatient units that have been shown to improve health outcomes but have yet to be utilized in resource-deprived settings, and 2) community-based programs for reproductive health education to reduce maternal mortality and help women achieve excellent physical, psychological and social health. The Women’s Center will be part of Nyaya Health’s plan to expand existing outpatient services through the renovation of the abandoned Bayalpata Hospital.
Nyaya Health and Architecture for Humanity Boston jointly presented our ideas for this center at the “Disparities in Surgical Care: Research to Practice” conference poster session. We received valuable feedback on our research design from surgeons, nurses, and others who have worked at clinics and hospitals in remote areas around the world.
Our intervention will begin with the recruitment of a local program director to coordinate the human resources and organizational components of the project. We will develop a leadership group that will include male and female community members and local healthcare providers to ensure local ownership of the Women’s Health Center. They will address some initial obstacles including transportation, community reluctance about institutional services, and consult on the introduction of evidence-based design features within the cultural context in Achham.
For the reproductive health education program, we will hire five group facilitators and train them in community-based participatory educational techniques. We will test our overall strategy through a six-session pilot program with specific user groups. We will also assess curriculum and educational methods, and elicit participation in creating a program and facility that will address user needs.
Together with Nyaya Health, Architecture for Humanity Boston, teams in the U.S. and in Nepal, and under the leadership of local community members, we will construct the Women’s Health Center and begin to provide services in June 2010. This creative model, which brings together medical, architectural, educational and psychosocial disciplines in a rural setting, can be scaled up to address maternal mortality and women’s health in other communities throughout the region.