–Written by Anshla Benny
“Women are not dying of diseases we can’t treat… They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving.” –Mahmoud Fathalla
Motherhood is not a duty but a celebrated phase in a woman’s life, but not in the rural and poverty stricken areas. Why is this so? The norms of patriarchy which propagate child marriage, male child preference, lack of access to education and resources contribute to this.
To make matters worse the healthcare infrastructure is restricted to the classes who receive luxury services and special care at a cost while women belonging to the urban or rural poor do not even have access to basic preventive health information and counseling to give birth to healthy children.
How does ARMMAN Help?
1. Right to information – Voice Call service
All women have a right to accessible, affordable healthcare. This is where mMitra steps in with its innovative voice calls to reduce the rates of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in the vulnerable sections of society.
It gives access to first hand information regarding antenatal and postnatal care which is a right that is otherwise denied to them. This essential information is timed and targeted, which simply means that the women receive messages on their phone with information specific to the week of pregnancy they are in and the stage of the infants’ growth.
This free service helps the women who cannot afford to make regular visits to the clinic.These messages are designed after a detailed research done in hospitals and health care centers.
2. Right to self determination – Animations as an aid to start family discussions
All women are capable of making informed decisions for themselves, but in a patriarchal society, men have control over the woman’s mobility, sexuality, fertility and all other life decisions. How do we ensure that the women get their right to self determination?
ARMMAN decided to come up with interesting two minute animation clips on various informative topics that are informative such as breastfeeding, hospital deliveries to the more taboo and attention grabbing topics, such as HIV/AIDS and family planning to initiate an open discussion with them and their families.Through mMitra, women have rightfully begun to reclaim their bodies and take independent decisions.
3. Right to adequate and affordable healthcare – Home Based Care
The ARMMAN project has a unique feature in the rural areas – that of training women health workers in Home Based Antenatal and Infancy Care. These health workers in the village are given a complete health kit which has a Sugar, Blood pressure, Hemoglobin test, weighing scale, Doppler machine and baby weighing machine. These health workers or Arogya sakhis canvass the village for pregnant women and enroll them in the project.
They make regular visits according to the convenience of the women and conduct the tests. They even refer the women to the doctor in case they show any danger signs. They are also trained in conducting pediatric tests on the newborn child till the age of one year. This is to ensure that the infant mortality rate goes down.
With this voice call service and home based care, most maternal and child deaths can be prevented and work towards the larger goal of delivering a healthy and bright future for the nation in particular and the world at large.