We are working in remote, tribal areas in Utnoor mandal of Adilabad district, Telangana, India. Here are a few success stories:
Promoting safe pregnancy
Mrs. Ganga Devi is a pregnant woman from Shambuguda, a tribal village in Utnoor mandal of Adilabad district in Telangana. Despite being weak and in 7th month of pregnancy, she was working in agriculture field which includes carrying heavy loads. And to make matters worse, she was not undergoing regular ANC checkups. She only had 2 pregnancy (ANC) checkups in the last 5 months. Nanibabu, ‘I do’ team member, understood the gravity of the situation. Initially, he approached her family members to explain the situation. But, to his surprise, they didn’t bother. He cautioned the pregnant women and her family members about the ill effects of heavy work on the pregnant women’s health and on the to-be- born baby. He explained to them about the importance of precautions that need to be taken at that stage like sleeping for at least 8 hours in the night and taking 2 hours rest in the daytime, daily having nutritious food, provisions at the Government Anganwadi center (AWC) and regular checkups at the hospital. After constant persuasion and consistent follow up for a week, she stopped going to the field and started following the advice. There is a substantial weight gain of 3kg (from 42kg to 45kg) since she stopped going to the field. Now, she has undergone total of 4 pregnancy checkups (ANC) and in good health.
Below are the details of her pregnancy check up dates and weight at that time.
|Date of Pregnancy check up||Weight (in Kilograms)|
Capacity Building of Government’s Community Health Worker (ASHA)
Bhupet is a remote village in Adilabad district and is an abode of the Nayakpod tribe. ‘I do’ team has collaborated with the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) here to significantly improve the quality of health services. Given the lack of data on pregnant and lactating mothers and lackadaisical implementation of procedures like Mother & Child Protection(MCP) card,the ASHA worker struggled with her work. She was not able to provide iron folic acid (IFA) tablets to most pregnant women on time. This is where ‘I do’ comes into the picture.
Initially, she was skeptical and didn’t pay heed to the inputs of ‘I do’ team regarding the deteriorating situation of health services in the village. But our consistent effort helped build a concerted partnership. We emphasized on the critical importance of timely care for these Pregnant Women (PW) & Lactating Mothers (LM) and worked with the ASHA to support them with knowledge and tools. Lalitha, an ‘I do’ team member, personally trained her in all matters related to ASHA’s roles and responsibilities. As a result of this constant support, she understood her role better. She started taking a proactive and prompt approach in issuing MCP cards to pregnant women along with conducting timely follow-up on the health of pregnant.
Saving Severely Malnourished (SAM) kids
Shambuguda is a remote village in Adilabad district where Gond tribes live. ‘I do’ team has identified three severely malnourished kids in this village. These kids need to be admitted in Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) but parents were not willing to send their kids to NRC. Family members were not aware of the serious implications of malnourishment and were concerned about the hospital expense, loss of daily wage and other household works. ‘I do’ team persuaded the parents by explaining about the hidden costs of malnutrition and how addressing the problem at the earliest will help the family save huge amounts of money at later years and that it may lead to the child’s death. After persistent persuasion for a couple of days, they joined their kids in NRC. They stayed in the NRC for 2 weeks which resulted in the improvement of their health condition. After seeing their improvement, many parents realized the effects of malnutrition and started giving adequate importance to nutrition.
Critical interventions like this go a long way in addressing the problem of infant mortality resulting from malnutrition, in the country.
Local Governance – Contribution of Swaasthya aur Poshan Mitra (SPM) committee
Thattiguda is a remote village in Adilabad district where Gond tribes live. There were regular complaints about the quality and regularity of services being provided by the Anganwadi Teacher, specifically around quality of food being served. ‘I do’ team empowered the villagers through the Tribal Entitlement Awareness (TEA) meetings and formed a 7-member Swaasthya aur Poshan Mitra (SPM) committee in the village. They trained the SPM committee on the effects of malnutrition, monitoring & supporting ASHA (Government’s Community Health Worker) & Anganwadi Teacher (AWT) in delivering services effectively, solving the problems on their own, conducting fortnightly meetings to discuss issues and conducting monthly social audits.
SPM committee members started supporting AWT and made AWT accountable for the regularity and quality of designated services,playing a supportive and supervisory role. SPM committee members are also overseeing whether the kids with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in the village are going to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC). Such examples show that Community led initiatives address the problems in a holistic, efficient and sustainable manner.
Enhancing last mile service delivery
Narsapur (J) is a remote village in Adilabad district where Gond tribes live. The monsoon season brings along many challenges, as the remote village is cut-off due to flooding. This significantly impacts the quality of basic services, especially for the pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Determined to solve the problem, ‘I do’ team brought this forth with the district administration, with documented evidence. District Collector asked the concerned department officials to look into the issues at the earliest and sanctioned an all-weather road to the village. While we still await completion of the works by the officials, we strongly believe that every small step will bring in much-awaited improvements.
Given such proactive behavior and persistent efforts of the team, we’ve quickly developed a great rapport with the local people and village elected representatives (PRIs). This has helped us strengthen our understanding of challenges at the grass-root level and work with people to find interim solutions to some of the most pressing issues. Village health committees (SPM committees) are now proactively participating in addressing the health & nutrition issues.