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They say the night is darkest before dawn. That hope sometimes is the brightest light some people hold on to. Sometimes, it’s the only light they have.

Welcome to Pakur! The heartland of India. Remaining as one of the country’s most backward district, it is plagued with very poor infrastructure and illiteracy. With poverty looming large and despair enveloping the region- We still could see hope!

We hoped to make a difference to the lives of mothers and children who suffered due to lack of infrastructure, rampant poverty and illiteracy.

The strategy was to build capacities, in other words, creating and empowering community health workers who have their fingers on the pulse of the population – the Sahiyyas, the Anganwadi workers and the Auxiliary Nurse Mid wives.

Sahiyyas go door to door each day educating pregnant and nursing mothers about the importance of health checkups, supplements, antenatal care, newborn care and immunisation. Sahiyyas have an important role in promoting deliveries in the hospitals as well. These helped tackle many issues like Institutional Delivery, Many people in this area prefer delivering the child at home, which is fraught with risk.

Demay, who had lost a child already, was going to deliver her fourth child at home too when the cluster supervisor intervened and counseled them to have the delivery at the hospital. Demay ended up having a safe delivery and today both mother and child are safe and healthy.

Likewise, The Pakur Mother and Child Survival Project was undertaken to increase the involvement of men and women with a mutual understanding on planning for a child, nutrition during pregnancy and many other vital issues. Khalik Sheikh a farmer and Anjuman Bibi a housewife have 7 children. They had their 2 boys vaccinated but didn’t feel the need for their 5 girls. The Cluster Supervisor counseled them on the importance of immunization. Eventually, the couple brought their 7th child for immunization, all thanks to this effort.

The Anganwadi means “courtyard shelter” in Hindi which provides basic health care activities, counseling, nutrition education, supplementation, as well as pre-school activities. The Pakur Mother and Child Survival Project helped 1135 anganwadi workers like Parvati Devi in monitoring the growth of the child by weighing and maintaining a community-based growth monitoring chart.

In these far flung areas that are affected with debilitating poverty, malnourishment is rampant. During the monthly growth monitoring, it was found that Celina was severely malnourished. Her mid upper arm circumference was 11.00 cm. The Cluster Supervisor counselled Celina’s parents and advised them to take her to the Malnutrition Treatment Centre where she was given food along with compensation of Rs. 150 for 15 days. Today, Celina is a healthy, growing child.

The Village Health and Nutrition Day is a simple way to get across to people who are not that open to modern ideas of mother and child care. The Village Health and Nutrition Day is promising to be an effective platform for providing first-contact primary health care. Many children have been benefitted, having received check-ups and vaccination.

Chandpur village health sanitation and nutrition committee was unclear about its roles and responsibilities. There was not even a bank account open for the committee. In December 2013, 270 members from 90 village health sanitation and nutrition committees (15 from each of the 6 blocks) including Sahiyaas went for an exposure visit to Topchanchi block of Dhanbad district. After the exposure visit, Asha Pravin the Cluster supervisor facilitated the Chandpur Committee in filling their self scoring sheet on the health indicators. VHSNCs are supposed to receive Rs. 10000 per annum from the Government, but disbursement has been irregular in the district. Despite the lack of funds, it has generated funds for bleaching powder as a preventive step to minimize the risk of disease in the rainy season and for repairing the hand pump to ensure clean drinking water for the villagers.

Now with years of labour…. we see the fruits. With quality trained front line health workers and better medical facilities, things are looking brighter. This has led to improvement in the level of maternal and newborn care, breastfeeding and nutrition and Care seeking behavior during malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia the mortality rate is expected to drastically fall…

Essential health care was brought to 140,333 women in the 15-49 age group, 42098 children between 0-23 months. Nearly all women giving birth at the local medical facilities has changed the destiny of the district. Women and their babies with access to basic skilled care during pregnancy, childbirth and the first days after delivery, deaths are being prevented. Protecting the health of women and chidren has brought hope and smiles on the faces of Pakur. We’ve provided the hope, the strength and the empowerment to tackle issues which seemed insurmountable. Today, the community at Pakur has become an example of correct care for expectant mothers and children who need care, nutrition and protection. The work isn’t finished and we need your support.

To know more about the life changing projects undertaken by EFICOR please visit our website:www.eficor.org or email us at info@eficor.org


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