Usha Kanwar is a homemaker and a resident of Sikar, Rajasthan. Her husband works as a driver. They are a family of meagre means, and their world did not have the necessary exposure or awareness about health, nutrition or hygiene. This became more evident, when their daughter Bhabna was born.
Since birth, Bhabna’s health was a concern. She was born at a government hospital and her birth weight was only 1.5 kg. Soon after birth, she was kept in an incubator for a few days. Though Bhabna was released from the hospital after some days, her nutrition and growth became a constant worry for her family. Usha was at a loss of how to improve her baby’s health.
At such time, Usha and Bhabna were identified by the volunteer of Bandhan’s Health programme, Seema Kanwar. When the ‘Healthy Motherhood Healthy Childhood’ project of the health programme carried out the baseline survey, Bhabna was a six month old baby. She was measured for Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) and weight. Her weight was found to be 7 kg and the MAUC was 11 cm only. She was thus, identified as a malnourished child.
Seema and the health staff realised the need of the hour. They started providing her with the necessary guidance and hand holding. They commenced regular visits to Usha’s house. They helped her learn little things like preparing homemade ‘chhattu’ (a flour dish made from a mixture of nutritious food supplements) using rice, pulses and nuts, which is a cost-effective nutritious meal option, especially for underprivileged families like hers. She started feeding Bhabna with ‘chattu’. Seema also helped Usha understand and adopt means of ensuring her own nutrition and personal hygiene. Thus, the overall health of both mother and baby was Seema’s priority. Further, they also sensitised Usha’s mother-in-law about the gravity of Bhabna’s health situation. Not only Bhabna and Usha were benefitting from Seema’s guidance, but, the rest of the family members too started improving their living habits under her counsel. Better hygiene, improved food choices and lifestyle changes – Usha’s family was getting better every day. The family started to realise the immense impact created by Bandhan’s health volunteer, Seema.
Through systematic guidance, it soon turned out that Bhabna was showing considerable growth and nutrition. During the following half yearly anthropometric examinations, it was found that in the second measurement, Bhabna registered MUAC as 11.5 cm and weight 8 kg, while in the third examination MUAC was found 13 cm and weight 9 kg. Currently, Bhabna’s MUAC is 13.2cm, whereas her weight is 9.5 kg.
Apart from the regular nutritious feeding, Bhabna also got immunised as per the government schedule. As per Seema’s guidance, Usha exclusively breastfed her child to ensure that she gets the best possible nutrition. All members of Usha’s family now adeptly adhere to all suggestions, provided by Seema. Bhabna is two years old, now, and is a healthy and happy child. Usha and her family are grateful to Bandhan for initiating the importance of health and nutrition in their lives.
‘The guidance of Bandhan’s health volunteer has given a healthy life to my daughter. Seema is like a family member to us; she regularly checks on Bhabna’s health and takes utmost care of her. Each day, when I look at Bhabna and her improving health, it fills my heart with gratitude for Bandhan.’