Placed at: Surguja, Chhattisgarh
Education: Master of Health Administration
Prior work experience:
- Worked for 7 months with reputed Health Insurance Company in Chennai \
One key work during fellowship
- According to National Family Health Survey -3, 47% of children in Chhattisgarh were underweight, making it the fifth most malnourished state in the country. The proportion of malnourished women was second highest in the country at 40%. The malnutrition rates in tribal population are around 20% higher than above. Research evidence shows that around 1/3rd of child deaths (upto age 5) are linked to malnutrition. Tribal districts in Chhattisgarh have extremely high child mortality rates, around 40% higher than average (66 per 1000 for overall Chhattisgarh, compared to 80+ for most tribal areas as per Annual Health Survey, Registrar General of India, 2011-12). E.g. Surguja district had a child mortality rate of 97 deaths per 1000 live births in 2011. Similarly for Jashpur, another tribal district, the child mortality rate was 96.
- High levels of poverty in tribal areas means inability of the family to provide a diverse diet which includes high quality protein (eggs/milk), vegetables, fruits, oil, pulses etc. Poverty and high burden of workload on tribal women also results in a majority of mothers lacking time for maintaining the required frequency of feeding. Children under age of 3 years require more attention in areas of feeding, preventing infections and faster treatment for illnesses. Weight gain during pregnancy is inadequate. Pregnant and lactating women need better diets.
What was done:
- Community managed Nutrition and Childcare Centres called Fulwaris started in Chhattisgarh are designed to address the above concerns. The Fulwaris are feeding and day-care centres for the children aged 6-less than 36 months which are managed by the mothers (of the children in the fulwari) themselves in a space that is donated by a willing family (not necessarily the family of a beneficiary child) with the cash assistance of the government routed through the Panchayat. In other words, the Fulwari is the equivalent of the Anganwadi for younger children except that there is no paid worker or government building.
- Fulwaris have shown promising results in improving nutrition as well as health outcomes for children. Weights of children including birth weights have improved. Independent assessments have shown that Children in Fulwaris gain weight much faster than children outside Fulwari coverage. Due to better nutrition and healthcare practices, Fulwari seems to be effective in reducing child mortality sharply.