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Jharna Rabidas

Jharna Rabidas

Pakur district, Jharkhand

I never imagined that I could be a change-maker for people in my community. It has been an enlightening experience for me too. I thank Bandhan for the opportunity.

Jharna has been a beacon of light for women in her village as an able Swasthya Sahayika (health volunteer). She has been systematically imparting health education through structured health forums and household visits. She has been actively engaged in spreading awareness about health and nutritional well-being. Among other significant topics, she lays lot of emphasis on the importance of institutional health care services, especially among pregnant women.

Even today in many pockets of India, women still give birth at home instead of opting for institutional delivery. One such example is Debpur village located in Jharkhand’s Pakur district. However, because of the efforts of Bandhan’s health team and volunteers like Jharna, the practice is progressively changing. To be able to change the mindset of people who have been traditionally conditioned to homebirths, is a commendable feat. Given the trust that the villagers repose in Jharna, she is often consulted for advice on varied health issues, including healthy pregnancy and safe delivery cases.

For instance, she has made a world of difference in Nazema Bibi’s life. Nazema’s first two children were born at home; however, third time around Jharna was able to convince Nazema and her husband Noor Alam to deliver at the district hospital. On the day of delivery, when Nazema’s labour pain started, her husband immediately called Jharna for help. She accompanied them to the hospital and stayed by their side. Both Nazema and her new born were doing fine. At present, Jharna is looking after the vaccination of the baby.

Further, the women in the community continue to actively participate in the health forums which increases their overall awareness on basic health issues. They implement the learnings from the forum at home and encourage family members to do the same. Owing to the efforts of volunteers like Jharna, the rate of institutional delivery has increased substantially within a few years at Debpur village. And, that is remarkable progress.