Arising from the need to enable healthcare knowledge among the underprivileged, Ahmedabad University’s School of Public Health partnered with the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) to establish the Sahyog Centre for Promoting Health, inaugurated on January 10, 2024, at the University campus. Building on the slogan 'Inspire sustainable healthy changes,' the centre aims to improve health locally, nationally, and globally through sustainable action and empower individuals and communities to take charge of their health and inspire others, creating a domino effect.
"The centre extends beyond improving healthcare. It encompasses approaching healthcare through research, sustainable practices, and empowering citizens with information. People must know the difference between healthcare and profiteering, avoid unnecessary treatment, and take a step towards preventive healthcare," said Professor Kaumudi Joshipura, Dean, School of Public Health, Ahmedabad University, at the centre's launch.
Occupational health hazards affecting people call for attention and a consolidated programme in healthcare, said Kapila Vanka, President, SEWA. “Interventions with the help of institutions will help make the positive change. I sincerely hope that the collaboration with Sahyog will be impactful and we will each other towards inclusive and sustainable solutions for the wellbeing of the informal sector,” added Manali Shah, National Secretary, SEWA.
Professor Pankaj Chandra, Vice Chancellor of Ahmedabad University, said, "We feel blessed to collaborate with SEWA and make a larger impact on society. This joint initiative is important for the larger benefit of society achieved through education, research, and activity. It will help us gain the position to change and impact the lives of the underprivileged."
Through Sahyog, which means collaboration, the centre has combined strengths in epidemiology, health promotion, research, training, community empowerment and outreach. Sahyog reflects an engaged learner who enhances an organisation's knowledge through community experience, active participation and cooperation. It emphasises and accepts the community's role in making the organisation's programme successful and achieving its goals.
Professor Kaumudi Joshipura, and Dr Sahil Hebbar, SEWA Consultant, shared the centre's vision at the inaugural. They elaborated on how the centre will work to improve health, wellness, and environmental sustainability locally and globally, especially for underserved communities, and promote health equity.
The event featured Dr Sujatha Rao, former Union Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and Dr Sunny Swarnkar, Deputy Assistant Director General, Non-Communicable Disease (NCD), Dte. GHS, MoHFW, who emphasised key pathways for health promotion.
The inaugural concluded with a panel discussion on diverse approaches to keeping healthy featuring Sudha Vasudevan, Senior Scientist and Head, Department of Foods Nutrition and Dietetics Research, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Chennai; Dr Rajendra Gadhavi, Assistant professor, B. J Medical College and International Consultant, WHO, Ahmedabad; Dr Sameer I. Dani, Honorable Cardiologist to H.E. the Governor of Gujarat, CEO – Apollo – CVHF Heart Institute (Ahmedabad), and Director, Department of Cardiology (Apollo Hospitals, Gandhinagar); and Professor Joshipura.