Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India

by Seva Mandir
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India
Life Saving Treatment to Children in Rural India

Dear Friend,

When 2-year-old Kamla arrived at Seva Mandir's Community-based management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) camp she was in a desperate state. Urmila and Sushila, two of the nurses who run the CMAM camps, were shocked at her awful condition and immediately rushed to her aid. Kamla weighed just 4.5kg and was only 65cm tall - far below the average for her age. She was brought by her mother and father to seek help from the nurses, and it quickly became clear that both the parents were suffering from an alcohol addiction.

Urmila and Sushila conducted various tests to assess her health, and it was found that Kamla was in the category of Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) - the most life-threatening. The nurses provided her with immediate treatment and Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF - a revolutionary method used by CMAM camps to provide food that ensures rapid weight gain in SAM children). The nurses gave medication and RUTFs to Kamla's parents to take home and told them to return to the follow-up CMAM camp 15 days later. They were given clear instructions on what to provide Kamla and how to look after her before returning to ensure that she would begin her recovery out of malnutrition.

15 days passed and Urmila and Sushila opened the follow-up CMAM camp in Kamla's village to conduct checks on children they previously treated, and they hoped that Kamla would return healthier and on the road to recovery. The day went on with children and parents reaching the camp to seek treatment - but Kamla and her parents were nowhere to be seen.

They never came. The nurses were worried that something had happened to Kamla as her condition was so extreme and they decided to find them in the village. Urmila and Sushila contacted one of Seva Mandir's community health workers who knew the family, and they made their way to Kamla's home - though what they found shocked them even more.

When they arrived at Kamla's home, they found her mother lying on the floor, drunk, and her father was nowhere to be found. The nurses managed to rouse the mother so that she was aware that they were there, and they began their follow up checks to test Kamla's health. They found that not only had her condition worsened, but that she was also suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI) and other complications. Eventually, the father arrived, and the nurses made clear that they were appalled at the condition and made immediate measures to send Kamla to the government run Malnutrition Treatment Centre (MTC) located in a hospital. The parents initially didn't want to take her, as the mother would have to be by her daughters side for at least 10 days, leaving the household to be managed just by Kamla's father. The nurses and the community health worker did not give up and they managed to persuade them to take Kamla to the MTC.

Kamla is now at the MTC, on the road to recovery. Seva Mandir's Balsakhis (women trained by Seva Mandir to provide care to children) make daily visits to her to monitor her improvement. She has already begun to put on weight and is moving in all of the right directions to escape the life-threatening effects of malnutrition.

Seva Mandir's CMAM camps are crucial in providing treatment to prevent malnourishment in the heart of villages to children who might not have the chance to seek treatment elsewhere. Urmila's and Sushila's quick thinking coupled with their comprehensive knowledge and ability ensured that Kamla will live to see another day. The nurses are hired and managed by Seva Mandir and are trained by Basic Healthcare Services (BHS), experts in rural healthcare. Their knowledge and compassion to help children are saving lives.

We have been able to do all this only with the support and motivation from well-wishers like you. So a heartfelt thanks goes to you and all our supporters.  

Our best wishes to you. Stay safe and keep social distancing.

Thanks & Regards

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir

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Dear Friend,

I hope this update finds you and your loved ones in good health. 

COVID-19 pandemic plunges the world into a state of uncertainty but we have faith that India and the world will be able to weather this storm as we have weathered many in the past.

Seva Mandir has an important role to play, and we’re working hard to help rural communities in southern Rajasthan during this time of need.

In our last report we shared with you the steps which Seva Mandir was taking for the safety and security of the people living in its rural areas. But now the scenario has completely changed, people now are aware about Covid-19 and they also know the ways to keep them safe and protected from this virus.

Already, malnutrition is a significant issue effecting children living in our working areas and the current situation has made the situation worse. Most importantly, children already suffering "Moderate or Severe Acute Malnutrition" are now mostly living in their homes without any medical care and adequate supplementary nutrition, and these children will be at maximum health risk.

Malnutrition is not a condition which will wait for the virus to end its game. It will worsen the woes of children and women unnerved by the invisible virus and threaten their survival. UNICEF warned in its report that a staggering, 1.2 million additional children under five could die in just six months in low and middle-income countries due to reduction in routine health services coverage and increased in child wasting [a form of malnutrition where the child is too thin for his height]. Of this, one of the largest death tolls could be borne by India, projected to touch 3 lakhs.

Through our Covid-19 Relief Programme we have provided more than 50,000 relief kits for food, sanitation, storing grain and personal protection. Our comprehensive awareness campaign on Covid-19 has focused on the symptoms of Covid-19, how to protect those most at risk, quarantine methods, and more. Additionally, Seva Mandir is also coordinating with the government to support their own relief efforts.

Our health team is regularly monitoring the health of malnourished children in our working areas and making all the efforts to give all the necessary help, support and guidance to these children and their parents. Our teams are also in touch with communities for any support needed.

We are deeply grateful for your overwhelming support and messages of encouragement. Until now, over INR 6 million (USD 80,000) has been spent in providing relief. Now, it is essential that we look forward and begin the second phase of rehabilitation efforts.

We are committed to continue to serve the communities we work with, and we know you will be too. The world will come out stronger after we beat the coronavirus.

Thank you, and sending our best wishes for yours and your family and friends safety.

Regards

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir team

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Namaste,

The coronavirus has brought unprecedented challenges to the world and effected the lives of thousands of people. At the time of writing, Rajasthan has begun a lockdown of all non-essential businesses and services, as the Government ramps up preventative measures. Yesterday, the country took part in Jantana Curfew (People’s Curfew), which also celebrated the people at the front line of tackling this virus.

Hygiene practices are a weapon against coronavirus. Our field teams are working directly with the communities to ensure they are aware and are practicing proper hygiene practices. Such methods include one of the most important in preventing not just coronavirus, but many dangerous diseases – hand washing. This basic action can save lives.

We have taken all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our staff, field workers and community members. Some of the measures include:

  • All activities such as trainings, community meetings and awareness campaigns that involve gatherings have been put on hold
  • Center based activities such as pre-schools, bridge schools, youth centers, etc. have been closed for the safety of children, their families and workers
  • Information dissemination in communities and internal meetings are being done through online platforms and mediums
  • Construction activities and natural resources development has been put on hold
  • Staff and community workers are now working from home

We are continuously monitoring the situation in our work areas and are in touch with communities in case of any support needed.

We are committed, even during this tumultuous time, to continue to serve the communities we work with, and we know you will be too.

The world will come out stronger after we beat the coronavirus. We urge you all to follow the guidance of the authorities.

Thank you, and sending our best wishes for yours and your family and friends safety.

Regards

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir

Awareness posters on Seva Mandir's notice board
Awareness posters on Seva Mandir's notice board

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Dear Friend,

Thanks to you, 800 malnourished children were provided life-saving treatment this year. On behalf of them, thank you for giving them this wonderful opportunity and giving them a chance to dream for a better future.

Here I would like to tell you about Meera who was just 1 year old when she began suffering from vomiting, diarrhea and a high fever. She was brought to a community health centre where she was diagnosed as being Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) and referred to the Seva Mandir supported Malnourishment Treatment Center (MTC) by the doctor, who advised that she be admitted as soon as possible as her condition was critical. She had not been eating properly and was losing weight.

Her mother was unaware of the devastating effects of malnutrition and thought that her daughter was suffering from a minor ailment and would recover soon. Meera was admitted weighing just over 5kg, putting her in the most critical category. She stayed at the MTC for 13 days and started showing signs of recovery soon after her treatment began. She began to eat food which was rich in energy, fat and protein. When she was discharged from the MTC after 13 days she weighed 5.4kg, could hold her head up, which she was unable to do before, and was much more active. She is now healthy and in a normal nutritional category.

This new life for Meera has only been made possible because of the support Seva Mandir receives from well-wishers like you. However, there are many more children like Meera who are still in danger and need your support.

Malnutrition is the leading cause of child mortality in India. Between 40 and 50% of child deaths under the age of five are due to malnourishment. 60% of children in Seva Mandir’s work area are suffering from some form of malnutrition. Therefore, this Christmas, you can give the gift of life to a child like Meera. Afterall, it only takes $10 to support the treatment of 1 malnourished child, and as part of GlobalGiving’s Year End Campaign, we could be eligible for bonus prizes which would help reach more children. But we need your help to get there.

You would also be supporting a programme that has been developed alongside the winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economic Science! Prof. Abhijit Banerjee, Prof. Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer partnered with Seva Mandir over a number of research projects. You can find out more here https://bit.ly/2YUO9aJ.

We would like to thank you from the bottom of our heart for joining hands with us. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support!

With gratitude,

Atul Lekhra & the Seva Mandir Team

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Dear Friend,

Seva Mandir has been working on the holistic development of rural and tribal communities living in poverty for more than 51 years.

Malnutrition is one of the biggest problems affecting children of 0-6 years in Udaipur district. In a survey conducted in 2019 in one area of Seva Mandir, 56% children were found underweight and 18% were wasted.

It is well known that malnutrition is a complex problem and caused due to several reasons, including improper feeding practices, lack of health and hygiene, poor health of mothers, and lack of nutritious food. Seva Mandir organizes community-based camps to provide Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) children from highly-remote areas of Rajasthan with medical care and treatment.

Urmila, 4 years old, is a tribal girl living in a mud house with her family. Road connectivity to their village is very poor and there is no public health facility so people have to rely upon the Community Health Center at a far away town.

Even though Urmila is her parent’s only child, they live with 7 other family members in their small house. Her parent’s income is just Rs 6,000 ($85) a month. Her mother is illiterate and father had studied only up to 5th standard. Her mother is involved in household chores and father is a daily wage laborer.

Urmila was in the SAM category when she was first screened for her nutritional status as per the World Health Organization (WHO) growth standards in the first camp. At that time she was very weak. She was then given Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and Medicines. Subsequently, she attended the follow up camp in which there was a little improvement in her weight and she was still in the SAM category. She was given medicines and RUTF again.

In total she was given 28 RUTF packets (14 at screening camp + 14 at follow up camp). She consumed all the RUTF packets and prescribed medicines. There are no side effects to RUTF and she also loves the taste of the food.

A visit to her house on the 17th of September was conducted to ascertain her current status. When checked for her height and weight exactly after three months from initial screening camp, she showed an increase in weight of around 1.8 Kgs (from 10.5 kg to 12.3 kg). Our staff did regular follow up of the child according to the protocol.

Now she is moved out of SAM category. Even the family members are happy to see their child healthy and playful.

Thank you for your support and for the confidence that you have placed in us. Urmila’s story and many others like her would not have been possible without the help of donors. Through further interventions we will see a reduction in cases of malnourishment in rural areas, along with increased awareness of early prevention. When children have recovered from malnutrition, their general health and happiness improves which in the long term will enable them to focus on their education. We run follow up systems, where Seva Mandir's community health workers will visit children who have benefited from the camps to ensure they have not relapsed into further malnourishment. 

Thank you so much.

Regards

Atul Lekhra and the Seva Mandir Team

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sevamandir

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Organization Information

Seva Mandir

Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan - India
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Twitter: @sevamandir
Project Leader:
Ronak Shah
Udaipur, RAJASTHAN India
$165,856 raised of $210,000 goal
 
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