The issue Women and Child has been a sorry tale in the tribal heartland of Jharkhand. The maternal mortality rate in the Santhal pargana region is a dismal 300, alarmingly higher than the state average of 71. These expectant mothers generally comprise of vulnerable women from the tribal and SC communities, who are often adolescents and at great risk during childbirth. More than half of these women have a BMI < 18.5 with a daily calorie intake in the range of 1200-1800 against a national average of 2100 and a WHO set standard of 3200/day.90% of these women are clueless about their health and nutritional needs. 85% of Adivasi women in the age group of 15-49 yrs suffer from anaemia.
The state of child health in the tribal community does not present a rosy picture either. 70% of newborns in the age group of 6-9 months are anaemic in Jharkhand. Almost every second child in the state is stunted and 3 out of ten is wasted. The rural infant mortality rate at 31 against 26 in urban areas presents a lot to ponder about. Low awareness level about breastfeeding practises and nutritional requirements of infants/kids can be attributed to be a major reason.
The crumbled rural health infrastructure needs a serious rejig.Prabha, over the years has rallied around health and nutrition aspects in the tribal dominated regions of Santhal Pargana in Jharkhand. We are of view that pathetic women and Child health has been a hindering block to the development of the whole area. Women are the fulcrum of any socio-economic activity. Inaction due to poor health and domestic pressure has massively curtailed their engagement in being the drivers of change for their family and village.
Food diversity is an apt solution to the menace of malnutrition afflicting the rural poor. Prabha's collaboration with JSLPS and ATMA has resulted into setting up of community nurseries, kitchen gardens in production of nutrient- rich food. Our efforts have been a guiding force towards attaining nutritional sufficiency in our operational area. Pulses like horse gram, green gram and ghangra are now part of staple diet of the people.
We believe that the complete makeover of the Anganwadi centres is the need of the hour. Our projects involve an in depth training of ANMs, ASHA workers, ICDS workers, PRIs, primary school teachers, adolescent girls and women from marginalized communities on the issue of female reproductive and Child health. Through our intervention, we aspire to usher the dawn of an era of food security and health sustainability in poverty laden states of Bihar and Jharkhand. Our public campaigns through folk media methods have resulted in massive stakeholder engagement at community level. A heightened perspective on health and nutrition has been raised among female, adoloscent girls through commencement of initiatives like village health and nutrition days in schools, breast feeding weeks involving quiz on the subject , two day healthy child program. The whole impetus of these programs have on early initiation of new mothers into breastfeeding by rising above religious and cultural barriers.
Our constant monitoring and evaluation through health audits has resulted in a continuum of care approach in the pressing realm of ante-natal, post-natal and neo-natal care extensively.