IPP Dr Shobha Rao
Rotary International’s new monthly theme for April is Maternal and Child Health! Every day mothers risk their lives giving birth and millions of children die each year from treatable, preventable causes. At least 7 million children under the age of five die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. To help reduce this rate, Rotary provides immunizations and antibiotics to babies, improves access to essential medical services, and supports trained health care providers for mothers and their children.
Rotary’s projects ensure sustainability by empowering the local community to take ownership of health care training programs. Maternal and Child Health Care is also recognized as one of Rotary’s Six Areas of Focus… Lets read article by our club’s IPP Dr Shobha Rao who is also District 3131 Director for this avenue :
Maternal and Child Health
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) is one of the seven focus areas of Rotary. In many developing countries including India MCH problems are of massive nature. Therefore, Rotary has great challenge to combat these problems.
During various training seminars, the District committee suggested several prevalent MCH problems in both rural and urban areas of India. For example, the committee highlighted the need to work on Maternal health issues such as Anaemia, PCOD and Gestational diabetes while child health issues suggested were low birth weight , Malnutrition in young children, dental and eye check-up of school children and Childhood obesity. Each one of this problem is of huge magnitude and would need efforts on three levels. For example, need of providing latest equipments to Municipal corporation hospitals or Primary health centres is beyond doubt. Bigger Rotary clubs can attempt this approach. On the other hand, middle level and smaller health clubs can focus health projects and attempt to create health awareness.
One of the projects that received attention was the biggest synergy project of 58 clubs, wherein 118 Baby warmers were donated to primary health centres in Pune and Raigad area. DG DR Anil had announced it on his Installation and was his dream project which was implemented sucessfully. Several clubs donated NST, foetal monitor, Stretcher, trolley, conducted health check camps and did excellent work in this focus area. Finally, RCP Shivajinagar executed in this RY its Global Grant project (No 2234500) which was unique in many ways. Under this GG project we donated 23 Baby warmers to PHCs from 8 Talukas in Pune. Owing to high prevalence of low birth weight, Baby warmers are essential for saving lives of such babies. However, once the mother is discharged on 4th or 5th day from the PHC providing warmth to the baby continues to remain the main problem as families do not have enough clothes due to poverty. We provided baby sleeping bags which can be used up to 6 to 8th month of baby’s age thus increasing it’s survival. This project also had a third component of training ASHA workers regarding supplementary foods to be given beyond 6th month. Many mothers in rural areas are not aware of need of giving supplementary foods beyond 6th month and continue giving only breast milk. As a result malnutrition sets in as early as 6th to 7th month. In this one day workshop ASHA workers were told about several such nutritious recipes which can be prepared from locally available foods. Thus the project not only aimed to increase survival of babies but also attempted to tackle the problem of malnutrition in infants. Around 700 ASHA workers were trained under this project.