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HomekarnatakaThis scientist brought hope and healing to displaced women in conflict-hit Manipur  

This scientist brought hope and healing to displaced women in conflict-hit Manipur  

Bengaluru: Amid the ongoing conflict in Manipur, a Bengaluru-based scientist has visited the relief camps in the state to deliver workshops to provide mental health support and educate displaced women.

On October 4, Dr Sweta Raghavan,Global Health and Implementation Science expert and Founder-Director of Scientists & Co, visited three relief camps — Phayeng High School relief centre, Imphal West; Leimaram SC Girls Hostel, Nambol; and Gulap Higher Secondary School, Mekola.

During the visit, Sweta delivered workshops onmanaging non-communicable diseases, preventing and mitigating infectious diseases, besides raising awareness about general hygiene, nutrition, sanitation, and menstrual health.

The material wasbased on scientific evidence for managing health conditions with limited resources in conflict settings and was tailored to address the challenges, especially faced by women and children due to a lack of resources and women relief workers.

Speaking to DH about her experience, Sweta said: “I learnt that most women and children were herded into camps, which were schools or hostels converted into relief camps.

“In some places, there were only three toilets that nearly 500 people had to share.Every fourth person I met had an active infection and struggled to access even basic facilities.”

Mental health was incorporated into the workshops after discussions with women, who extensively spoke about the impact of the conflict on their mental and emotional health.

A total of 1,400 sanitary kits were distributed free of charge to these women, which includedreusable and eco-friendly sanitary pads sponsored by Children in Education Charity, benefitting over 350 internally displaced women.

Sweta was supported by eight boys and two girls from the Indian Youth Congress’ local wing, who managed logistics on the ground.

“Immediately, polio, hepatitis B, tetanus, and rotavirus vaccines must be administered for children. I observed that many of them suffered from bouts of diarrhoea. Muscular wasting has begun in children; we don’t need a diagnosis to understand there is a clinical issue there,” she said.

(Published 25 October 2023, 23:47 IST)

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