Mumbai: Archdiocese's health trust promotes natural remedies in Covid times

TNN | Jan 30, 2022, 10.42 AM IST

MUMBAI: For nearly 12 years since 2010, remote tribal villages as well as poor urban communities of Mumbai, Raigad and Dharavi Islands (not the suburb in Mumbai) have benefited from a nature cure programme devised by the Archdiocese of Bombay. An NGO named Health Promotion Trust (HPT) uses home remedies and herbal concoctions to keep common diseases at bay lest they aggravate and overwhelm the family's meagre resources. A recent impact assessment study by HPT showed how ordinary households find home remedies useful. Medical facilities are often located far from remote communities. Moreover, nature cure is cheap and affordable, and eschews the side effects of chemicals.

HPT's director and founder trustee Fr Rocky Banz says they train and mobilise "barefoot health workers" at the grassroots about health care strategies that are "simple, affordable and accessible". HPT conducted its first "barefoot health worker" training workshop in 2010. Fr Rocky said, "These workers represent tribals, Kolis, farmers, migrants and domestic workers. After they receive their certificate they share their knowledge with their communities. Our staff also conducts training in schools and civic organisations."

"To evaluate the effectiveness of our decade-long programmes, our staff interviewed health workers and staff of partner organisations and published the feedback in a study. The benefit of visits to like-minded organisations such as the National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune, Catholic Health Association of India and Vedruna Missionaries Health Care were evident." "We have built herbal gardens to produce herbal remedies. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have supported medical personnel in door-to-door awareness programmes, clinic services, nutrition and immunity strategies." The study quotes a health worker treating a midnight SOS call by a patient suffering from piles. She claimed, "I advised the patient to consume panfuti leaves (acid plant) in the morning for a period of 21 days. I also suggested onion and shoeflower juice to keep the body cool. The patient complied, and it worked." Another "barefoot health worker" began including carrots in her diet to improve her eyesight. She claimed, "I suffer from diabetes but my sugar levels came under control once I began to consume soaked fenugreek seeds.