Thanks to your support RED International was able to fund the printing of flash cards on important aspects of antenatal care. Since then, the Community Health Workers working in Good Shepherd Schools in India have found that village women have found it much easier to share concerns and questions related to pregnancy. Rehka* and Rani* were very encouraged in the village meeting in Gujarat when the women were eager to learn and pledged to follow the advice that the health workers were giving them.
Rani was especially encouraged as she remembered a woman she had encouraged recently who was about five months pregnant. Rani met Sujathe* during a routine visit to Sujathe’s village. She was immediately stuck by how thin and pale she seemed and was shocked to learn that she was pregnant. Rani asked if she had attended the Primary Health Centre and when Sujathe was about to reply her mother in law appeared from inside the thatched house and told Rani that there was no need for Sujathe to attend the clinic, she had work to do at home and no one free to take her. Rani spent some time explained the importance of Sujathe receiving antenatal care. She explained that she needed immunisations and iron and folic acid tablets to correct her anaemia. Sujathe’s mother in law was adamant that antenatal care was not necessary but Rani was determined to work with the family and to help them understand the importance of antenatal care. She visited regularly and after several visits Sujathe’s mother in law relented and agreed to allow Sujathe to attend for antenatal care. She was given iron and folic acid tablets, as well as tetanus injections and went on to deliver a healthy baby. Without the intervention of the Community Health Worker Sujathe’s baby could have been low weight and vulnerable to many problems during delivery and immediately after birth.
Sujathe’s story is an all too common scenario that our health workers encounter all over India. Persuading pregnant women, or their families, of the importance of antenatal care occupies much of their time when visiting villages. Having resources to support education of groups of village women of all ages is an important part of their work in helping village communities understand the importance of ante-natal care.
Thank you for your part in helping women and children to thrive rather than survive the key stages of pregnancy and infancy in India. Who can you share this story with so that more families can be helped?
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