PRASAD Chikitsa’s Community Health Programs are effective because they are comprehensive and far-reaching. Our community medical programs meet people’s immediate health needs such as illnesses and injuries, while the preventive initiatives are achieving long-term, sustainable improvements in the welfare of individuals and communities.
PRASAD Chikitsa’s approach to Community Health Care is holistic; we respond to people’s physical and mental health concerns and to the social and environmental conditions that contribute to those concerns.
PRASAD’s Family Health Center is home to many of those initiatives, including the Reproductive and Child Health Program, Accredited Social Health Activist Training Program and the School Health and Nutrition programs.
Reproductive and Child Health
The Reproductive and Child Health Program educates pregnant women about the importance of regular prenatal care to monitor and manage any complications as well as to teach mothers about childcare, nutrition, hygiene and other topics to help ensure healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries.
Activities of the Reproductive and Child Health Center include:
- Training staff in prenatal, natal, neonatal and postnatal care
- Training Accredited Social Health Activists (an enhancement of the former Dai or Midwife Program)
- Setting up transportation links between remote villages and the nearest medical facilities
- Maintaining a referral system to nearby obstetrics facilities, primary health centers and hospitals
Among the program’s achievements has been a significant increase in the number of infants whose birth weight exceeds the Indian national average birth weight of 2.7 kg (just under six pounds.)
Many factors contribute to children not receiving medical care such as poverty, lack of knowledge and unavailable transportation. Without regular care, minor health concerns can be missed and potentially escalate into more serious problems. PRASAD Chikitsa offers health camps at schools in the villages to assess the children’s health with a physical examination, a dental checkup, vision screening and distribution of medicine and vitamins. PRASAD Chikitsa believes that healthy children grow up to be healthy adults, and so PRASAD emphasizes health education and prevention just as much as treatment.
Food Security is having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Achieving it required a multi-faceted, sustainable approach. We work across our Agriculture, Women’s Empowerment and Health Care programs to help families overcome poverty and become self-reliant and self-sustaining.
The hunger and poverty rates in India are high, especially in rural areas where a majority of the population lives, a third of them in poverty. To give you an idea, 24% of the world’s hungry live in India: 195.9 million, or 14.5%, are malnourished, including nearly 45% of children under age 5. In the Tansa Valley, malnutrition and poverty rates are higher.
- We start at the beginning with our Reproductive and Child Health Program, educating women on the importance of nutrition in prenatal care and childcare to ensure healthy pregnancies, births and beyond.
- We monitor nutritional health for infants and young children at our Family Health Center and provide health checkups and education to adolescents through our School Health Camps.
- Kitchen Gardens are ways to engage the whole family in growing fresh, nutritious vegetables. We provide the seeds and technical assistance throughout. Kitchen gardens help to diversify a family’s diet and sometimes provide extra to sell at market, boosting family income.
- When women are empowered, families eat better and girls are more likely to get an education. Our Women’s Self-Help Groups (SHG’s) help women save and invest in each other, get business training, and build the confidence to earn incomes of their own, giving them independence and power at home. 80% of our SHG members are farmers.
- Through our Agriculture Program, we provide access to resources and training for farmers to increase productivity and diversity with second crops – fruit, flowers, and vegetables – they use at home and sell at market, which helps families earn additional income to purchase protein-rich foods to supplement their diets.
Today, infants, toddlers and children up to age 6 and pregnant and nursing women receive both milk and supplemental nutritional snacks six days a week. In the first six years of a child’s life, adequate protein and nutrients are crucial to support physical and brain health. Participants also receive regular check-ups to ensure their sustained health and that they are measuring up to World Health Organization growth standards. This program has been instrumental in reducing the malnutrition rate in children from 43% in 2015 to 17% by the end of 2018.
Since 2014, the Nutrition Program has provided 431,000 glasses of milk and more than 319,000 nutritious supplements to infants, children, and pregnant and nursing women.