India | Chhattisgarh leans on citizens’ science and participatory decision making to combat toxic air

State Health Resource Center (SHRC), Chhattisgarh is implementing a unique pilot in two polluted districts (Raipur and Korba) of the State to strengthen the health systems and prepare them to respond to air pollution related health problems. Their approach integrates citizens science and community health workers’ role in raising awareness on air pollution and health.

SHRC, in collaboration with Healthy Energy Initiative India and the health department, is also working towards setting up a network of 150 low cost monitors in polluted regions to provide real-time air quality and health information to communities throughout the State. A part of the Air Pollution and Health program, in the first phase – 500 doctors and 6,000 female community health workers (“mitanins”) will be trained and engaged in raising awareness on air pollution and health impacts.

About Mitanins:

Mitanin in Chhattisgarhi means friend – a female friend. In most parts of this state there exists a traditional custom that a girl of one family is bonded to a girl of another family through a simple but enchanting ritual ceremony and from that time onwards they become Mitanins to each other. According to custom any girl can always count of her Mitanin in times of need – Sukh me sabiya, dukh me Mitanin – goes the saying. In particular tradition shows her coming to aid her Mitanin in times of illness – even if it’s after a long time and are married and now living in far-away homes. It is this custom that was built on – to create a new type of Mitanin – the SwasthyaMitanin – the friend of the village for health care needs.

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