For the Public Good
Women, Health, and Equity in Rural India
Author(s): Patricia Antoniello
For the Public Good details the role of the Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP), a groundbreaking, internationally recognized primary health care model that uses local solutions to solve intractable global health problems. Emphasizing equity and community participation, this grassroots approach recruits local women to be educated as village-based health workers. In turn, women village health workers collaborate to overcome the dominant double prejudices in local villages—caste and gender inequality. In one generation, village health workers have progressed from child brides and sequestered wives to knowledgeable health practitioners, valued teachers, and community leaders. Through collective efforts, CRHP has reduced infant and maternal mortality, eliminated some endemic health problems, and advanced economic well-being in villages with women’s cooperative lending groups.
For the Public Good describes how the recognition and elimination of embedded inequalities, in this case caste discrimination, gender subordination, and class injustice, promotes health and well-being and collaboratively establishes the public good.