National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated to aware people about healthcare facilities for women. The theme of 2019 is “Midwives for Mothers”.
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 and improvement.
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 breastfeeding.
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:
• Sanginis conducted 45,679 focussed group discussions and 96,245 family counselling covering 2.39 lakh women in the reproductive age group and adolescent girls.
• A total of 3143 village-level events were successfully conducted across 1209 villages and 104 slums for promoting participation of the community in the SuPoshan Project.
• So far, 1,73,271 Hb screenings were conducted, and 8,362 cases of anaemia were facilitated with Iron Folic Acid tablets.
Outputs and Outcomes
• 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)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR Network and its Editor.
Terms & Conditions: India CSR Network does not permit other Websites/Agency to copy or reproduce or reprint the above article/feature in any form or means.