Village Leader becomes Walking Encyclopedia on Health the health status of the village has improved since the Community Led Initiatives for Child Survival (CLICS) program begun. People’s knowledge on health and hygiene has risen significantly. His liberal attitude is reflected in his reaction to the fact that women are at the centre of the health program in the village. “Women are the target of the CLICS program and this is appropriate as they are the upholders of the family and influence the health of both men and children. Sarpanch Dipchand Kamble stands outside the village PHC Kamble’s father was an ayurvedic doctor and the value of helping people and serving society was He uses the power of reasoning to win all his battles. “I never advise anyone to take any particular course of action,” he declares. “I just tell them the pros and cons of a choice and let them decide.” It is this open-minded leadership that has led to Sarpanch Dipchand Kamble’s popularity in the village of Selu Kate in Wardha. He holds the two most powerful positions in the village today: Sarpanch (village head under local self-governance) and also the President of the Village Coordination Committee (VCC) under the CLICS program. Endorsement by the Gram Panchayat is crucial to the functioning of the Village Coordination Committee. Two members of the GP are instilled in his from the time he was a little boy. Assisting and counselling people to solve their problems became his hobby. This turned into a profession when he was elected into the Gram Panchayat (GP) 15 years ago and took over as the village Sarpanch in 2004. This was a natural progression, as his influence in the community was at its peak at this time.

nominated to act as spokespersons on behalf of It is rare to find a village head with his level of interest and knowledge on health issues. Kamble switches with ease from a discussion on malnutrition to the problems that have arisen from mosquitoes that breed in the village. “Two years ago Chikungunya struck every single person in this place,” he says. “The entire population was sick and out of work for at least two months.” Aside from this, however, he feels the VCC in GP meetings. For the village Sarpanch to involve himself in the health of a community to this extent is both rare and of huge benefit to the community. Kamble is well versed on matters of health and the activities directed at improving the health of women and children.

His presence in both has improved the synergy between the CLICS project and the

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government’s efforts, and the problems of the village are being dealt with in a more systematic manner. He feels the CLICS program has offered the guidelines and management that has been missing so far. Since his tenure, Kamble has made several contributions from the Gram Panchayat fund to the village health fund of the VCC: Rs. 2000 was initially disbursed for the inauguration of the Kiran clinic in the village, and more recently, Rs. 1000 was provided to the village health fund to help feed the marginalized and poor children in the village adopted by the VCC. He has also agreed to the request of VCC to allocate 10% of the total Gram Panchayat budget for maternal and child health care.
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Dr. Sushila Nayar School of Public Health Incorporating Department of Community Medicine Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences Sewagram - 442 102 Wardha District Maharashtra (India) E-mail:


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