The Mother and Child Healthcare Project

Women in Haryana and Punjab are marginalised and vulnerable because of low literacy rates and a predominant gender bias. Pfizer India has partnered with Arpana Research and Charities Trust to deliver sustainable healthcare to women and children in the region through the Mother and Child Healthcare Project.

Pfizer began supporting the Mother and Child Healthcare Project in rural Haryana in 2002. We have adopted 41 villages for a primary healthcare programme that aims to reduce anaemia in pregnant women and adolescent girls. The project promotes community health, including diarrhoea management, antenatal care, child nutrition and immunisation. Village health workers provide education, training and disease awareness. The project also aims to identify congenital abnormalities in high-risk pregnancy cases, especially neural tube defects and intrauterine growth retardation.

A three tier healthcare program, The Mother and Child Healthcare project consists
of the following levels

 

Primary Level
- Village Health Workers: Community based preventive health services, implemented by closely knit teams of primary level community workers from villages, including the traditional midwife
Secondary Level - Mobile Health Teams: Mobile clinics, linked to the referral base, visit all the project villages monthly to deliver a wide range of health care services for mother and child, including immunisation, and family planning components. It provides treatment of common diseases and a village level referral centre, and also technical backup for the primary level team of village based health workers. Immunizations now cover over 98% of the children in these target villages.
Tertiary Level - Referral to the 170-bed Arpana Hospital: Patients and pregnant women are referred to the hospital by midwives and health workers who are based at the target villages. Cases commonly referred are difficult delivery cases/complications; severe anaemia, other maternity and child cases needing referral, family planning operations; pneumonia and other chest conditions; diarrhoea with extreme dehydration; and renal and other stones endemic in the area.
 

Training and building disease and nutrition awareness are key aspects of the program

  • Training - Specialized information, training was given to health workers and mid-wives. Although orientation on these issues has been given to the project staff, it was felt necessary to conduct some intensive training sessions.

  • Awareness

    • Street meeting on pregnancy care using specially designed flash cards and focusing on IUGR and NTD are conducted regularly across the 41 villages. These street plays and meetings also cover a spectrum of health issues vital to the community well being. Pfizer’s support has also enabled Arpana to empower women by facilitating self-help groups (SHGs). The SHGs have used innovative methods like plays and songs and flash cards to disseminate healthcare tips.
       
    • The federation of women groups’ Jan Shakti Mahila Vikash Sangathan’ is committed to work for community health, development, social justice, good governance and economic emancipation.
 


Health activities undertaken by Self Help Groups:

•  Mobilizing pregnant mothers for check ups and
    immunization
•   Advising pregnant women for nutritional diet
•   Checking home deliveries
•   Mobilizing mothers for child’s immunization
•   Organizing instant food stalls before the
    harvesting season

Prevention of seasonal diseases

•  ORS stalls for diarrhoea management
•  Swach Angan for water borne diseases
•  Malaria stall for prevention of malaria
•   Sanitation drives

Nutritional awareness drives were conducted in all the villages and villagers are mobilized to plant winter seasonal vegetables in their backyards. Training sessions on balanced diet and correct methodologies to preserve vegetables by drying and packing are conducted. This aims to increase awareness on diet and nutrition in additon to ensuring a steady supply of nutritious food.

 

 

 

Kitchen Gardens were promoted by

  • Free distribution of seeds
  • Prize distribution for kitchen gardens
  • Networking between Krishi Vigyan Kendra and kitchen garden owners
  • Vegetable drying technique training


64% of families have village gardens



 

The project has had considerable success. Infant and maternal mortality is down. Access to nutritional supplements, including iron, has led to a fall in anaemia and iron deficiency in women and children. A majority of women now have access to pregnancy care and safe delivery. Malnutrition among children and pregnant women has reduced, and the babies have a better birth weight.

Empowerment of women has also led to the development of micro credit groups - The health awareness meets have gradually evolved and today women pool in their savings to help each other set up their business. The micro credit group has ensured several women of a livelihood.

 


Funds from the micro credit group helped her buy a buffalo and
sustain a livelihood by selling milk



 

The Mother and Child healthcare project truly symbolizes a successful partnership that has improved the quality of life of women and children in over 40 villages in rural Haryana. The focused efforts of Arpana has ensured that women are aware of their rights both social and health. Greater empowerment of women and awareness on health and nutrition has resulted in happier and healthier children, women and families, thus taking us a step closer towards building a healthier India.

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