The following is part of a series of project updates from the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA). The case study come from their project, Working on Integration Issues of HIV/AIDS and Maternal Health, which the MHTF is supporting. More information on MHTF supported projects can be found here.
Ektam, a 30-year old mother from Barmer District in India, felt that she and her children were cursed. Her family blamed Ektam’s bad fate for the numerous illnesses that plagued her children, and she was wrought with worry during her latest pregnancy over the health of her new baby.
Ektam comes from a region where awareness, access and usage of health care is minimal. The situation is exacerbated by limited access to education, especially for girls, early marriage, and early and frequent pregnancy.
Then Ektam met a male community health volunteer from CEDPA/India’s Child, Maternal and Reproductive Health Awareness Initiative (CMH Program). He explained that simple health interventions, including vaccinations, would reduce the children’s illnesses. And, he met with Ektam’s husband and mother-in-law to educate them about the importance of regular antenatal care and other preventative measures to improve family health.
Today, Ektam is getting regular health check-ups for her children, with the blessing of her husband and mother-in-law. And, she expresses confidence that her fifth child will be healthy because of her regular visits to the maternal health clinic.
She is just one example of how increasing health awareness has led to healthier outcomes for families under the CEDPA/India initiative. Implemented from 2007 to 2009, CEDPA worked with Panchayat leaders (local governing bodies), community organizations and health workers to improve the reproductive health of adults, adolescents and transient workers and truckers in Barmer. The program was funded by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Cairn, UK-based oil and Gas Company.