Health is one of the issues that Manthan has worked for since 1998. It has regularly conducted health festivals for migrant labourers, women, adolescents and children alike. A Reproductive Health Programme was carried out in 18 villages wherein groups of women were involved to understand and work with pregnant women and children. Local Dayi (mid-wives/nurses) were also trained to work with mothers and children to prevent malnourishment. An awareness programme about the spread of HIV AIDS and its associated challenges was also conducted for the migrant workers of Kishangarh block.
CRECHE – BALWADI
It is common for women of marginalized communities to go out to work to support their family. However, this often leads to kids being neglected and they end up suffering from malnutrition. Manthan planned to resolve these issues by setting up 25 Balwadi centres since 1983 with the help of Barefoot College, Tilonia. In 2018-2019, 8 Balwadi centres across 8 villages have taken care of 174 children by feeding them regularly and taking care of their health.
Manthan has always believed in the saying “A Healthy Child becomes a Healthy Citizen” and hence, has undertaken several initiatives to tackle multiple issues on this front. The most prevalent issues that have been taken care of are-
- Health and hygiene of children
- Nutrition intake
- Regular health check-ups for children
- Timely vaccinations
- Reduction in Infant Mortality Rates (IMR)
- Discussions with pregnant women and mothers
- Preparing children for primary education
- Engaging girls who accompany children to Balwadi centres into education
- Admission of students to primary school
- Regular meetings and trainings for care givers
Manthan seeks to provide pre-natal and post-natal care to pregnant women and new mothers through its initiative “M. Mitra” during year 2018-2019. M.Mitra is a free mobile voice call service that sends timely and targeted preventive care information weekly/bi weekly directly to the phones of the enrolled women in their chosen language and timeslot. 100+ women in 7 villages have been benefitted through this initiative till now.
The Nutrition Project – Super 5
Manthan has always championed the cause of health. In line with this, it partnered with Barefoot college to eliminate malnutrition among children of rural communities of Rajasthan. Super 5, a traditional nutritional supplement which is an amalgamation of five natural products- wheat, peanuts, sesame seeds, bengal grams and jaggery. The supplement is known to combat undernourishment in children and iron deficiency in women.
For the implementation of the project, Manthan surveyed 22 schools in Ajmer and Naguar Districts of Rajasthan in July, 2019. The schools were selected on the basis of two criteria- the marginalized communities to which the enrolled children belonged and the enthusiasm of the schools to implement the project. A mix of government, private and CBO schools were selected from Tyod, Jundhda, Brijpura, Chotidhani, Kotri, Jabdinagar, Ulana, Padampura, Bagriyon ki Dhani, Roopangarh, Bhadun, and Tilonia.
Manthan conducted several meetings with the school staff to elucidate them about the Super-5 product, explain them their role and plan the implementation of the programme. It also took permission from the school management and parents of the children before commencement of the project. Baseline health camps were organized to measure the initial health levels of the students. The distribution of Super 5 commenced in November 2019.
Super 5 was procured from a hygienic, centralised production unit, in Barefoot College Tilonia and weekly stock for every school was disbursed in storage vessels directly from the unit to ensure quality. Manthan also sought to contain environmental Pollution by implementing a system of reverse logistics for retrieval of used sachets from the schools.
About 20 awareness and sensitization sessions on topics of general health, wellness and nutrition were also conducted for school children to achieve a holistic outcome. Quarterly health camps were organized in February 2020 to track improvement in the health vitals. Overall 1187 students- 584 girls and 602 boys enrolled in 13 schools benefitted from the project. Manthan also conducted 4 puppet shows for communities in the remote hamlets to spread awareness about health and nutrition.