National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated to aware people about healthcare facilities for women. The theme of 2019 is “Midwives for Mothers”.
By Dr. Priti Adani
The National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated
every year on April 11 to create awareness on proper healthcare and access to care
during pregnancy childbirth and postnatal services for women. In developing
regions like India and Africa, maternal mortality has been an area of concern
To address this issue, it is important to create awareness about four important components:
- institutional delivery ensuring reduction in risk of maternal mortality,
- reducing anaemia by administering iron and folic acid
- identifying high risk pregnancy at early stage and
- focus on nutrition among expecting mothers
Malnutrition and anaemia are the most frequently observed nutritional deficiency conditions in the world today. It is especially prevalent in women of reproductive age, particularly during pregnancy increasing the risk of maternal mortality and morbidity.
Malnutrition amongst adolescent girls and women in India is an
alarming phenomenon. In India, 55.8% adolescent girls aged 15-18 years, 53.1%
women aged 15-49 years have anaemia. Moreover anaemia prevalence in pregnant
women is as high as 50.4%. (NFHS IV data)
It is not just poverty, but the lack of knowledge and proliferation of myths that have contributed to this crisis. This cycle stems from the lack of knowledge and myths on what, how much, and how many times to eat or feed. Poor hygiene and sanitation add to the hurdles. If the issue of malnutrition is not addressed at an early stage then it can have grave effects. United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (2.2) promises to end all forms of malnutrition by 2025, which includes control over stunting & wasting in children less than 5 years of age and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women.
Keeping this in mind, we at Adani Foundation have envisioned our
efforts to ensure the target communities are not only aware but also
participate in the process and feel the impact of such development exclusively.
The Adani Foundation’s SuPoshan Project strives to address these
issues with a life-cycle approach that includes community-based management.
There is a fine balance between the curative and preventive aspects of
SuPoshan’s strategy for reducing the occurrence of malnutrition and anaemia. It
becomes imperative for Foundation like ours to understand the reasons and gaps
in the present system and address this issue holistically.
Project SuPoshan targets children within 0-5 years of age,
adolescent girls, pregnant women, lactating mothers and women in the
reproductive age, in general. ‘Sangini’ a village health volunteer plays a
pivotal role in spreading awareness, referral and promoting behaviour change
among the target groups to achieve the project objectives.
The project focuses on behavioural change communication with
pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescent girls as well as all women in
the reproductive age group for promoting healthy food habits as preventive
actions for anaemia. Mothers and would be mothers along with their family’s
decision-makers were guided through 10 proven points for curbing malnutrition
with a specific focus on initiation of breastfeeding soon after the birth and
timely introduction of supplementary feeding after six months in addition to
SuPoshan Sanginis, volunteers from the community, are trained to take anthropometric measurements and identify Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM) & Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) using ‘Measurements of mid Upper Arm Circumference’ (MUAC) tapes and Weight for Height measurements. They are also taught to conduct focused group discussions and family counselling for behaviour change.
Today, project SuPoshan is serving 11 States spread across 1209 villages, 104 slums covering 3 lakh households. The project has selected 588 Sanginis and built their capacity for meeting the challenges of curbing anaemia and malnutrition.
The objective of Project Suposhan is to reduce malnutrition and anaemia amongst adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women, create awareness about the issue of malnutrition and anaemia and related factors amongst all stakeholders and role they may play in curbing the issue, create a pool of resources to be utilised for combating the issue of Malnutrition and Anaemia and to support efforts in reducing IMR (Infant Mortality Rate) and MMR (Maternal Mortality Ratio).
Some of the notable achievements so far:
conducted 45,679 focussed group discussions and 96,245 family counselling
covering 2.39 lakh women in the reproductive age group and adolescent girls.
total of 3143 village-level events were successfully conducted across 1209 villages
and 104 slums for promoting participation of the community in the SuPoshan
• So far,
1,73,271 Hb screenings were conducted, and 8,362 cases of anaemia were
facilitated with Iron Folic Acid tablets.
• Over 4,11,000 women and adolescent girls
participated in focus group discussions.
• Furthermore, 5254 cases of anaemia have moved
to the upper level of Hb.
SuPoshan is supported by Adani Wilmar Limited. Considering the
success of the project, it was decided to expand the project doubling its
coverage. Presently, SuPoshan is being implemented in one of the largest
districts of Gujarat, namely the Narmada district. Narmada is declared as an
aspirational district by the government due to the region showing low human
development index. In Narmada district, 37.2% children under the age of 5 years
are suffering from malnutrition, prevalence of anaemia among women in the age
group of 15-49 years is 57.6% and 58.2% among pregnant women.
Hence, it is in improving overall nutrition and eliminating hunger
that the battle against malnutrition and anaemia will meet its toughest test.
Another difficult terrain is of social attitudes; often, women’s nutritional
needs are accorded the lowest priority. Women are the last to eat in
traditional families which reduces the amount of food women consume.
Adani Foundation is poised to provide a wide-ranging and
comprehensive interventions to provide welfare support and benefits to the
community to correct this age old practice.
(Dr. Priti G. Adani, Chairperson Adani Foundation)
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