Cognizant Foundation's CSR Impact Award-Winning Mission to Reduce Maternal and Infant Mortality Rate

By auther pic. Roshini Muthukumar

April 13, 2023

Cognizant Foundation's CSR Impact Award-Winning Mission to Reduce Maternal and Infant Mortality Rate

Cognizant Foundation

Most maternal deaths are preventable by early detection of different risk factors and appropriate, affordable, and timely management. In India, around 20-30% of the Antenatal care (ANC) registered in health facilities are reported as high risk, which is responsible for 75% of Prenatal morbidity and mortality. Antenatal care is the treatment you get from health professionals during your pregnancy. It's sometimes called pregnancy care or maternity care.

Early detection and management of high-risk pregnancies can contribute substantially to the reduction of maternal mortality. The Sample Registration System report suggests that over the period of time, there has been a reduction in maternal and infant mortality in urban areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat. 

It is the outcome of the provision of Reproductive Maternal Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH) services in urban health posts especially for that slum communities. However, there is still a huge gap in the delivery of services, access to, and use of the RMNCH services in urban areas in India. Availability of regular and complete Antenatal care (ANC), Postnatal Care (PNC) and childcare services are the challenges in the slum community.

To address and tackle this, Cognizant Foundation in partnership with Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT), Mumbai launched project Suraksha. The aim behind the initiative is to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in Bhiwandi and Malegaon, Maharashtra. 

Launched in 2020, this five-year project – 

  • Raises awareness on the importance of ante-natal care (ANC), and postnatal care (PNC) 
  • Facilitates communication and transportation for pregnant women and lactating mothers
  • Enables continued medical care and immunization for high-risk pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children below 2 years. 
  • To date, over 82 Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) cases, and other high-risk cases have been identified and treated. For their efforts and impact on the ground, Cognizant Foundation won the Healthcare award at the 8th CSR Impact Awards, India CSR Summit. This is Asia’s largest CSR Forum hosted by CSRBOX and Dalmia Bharat Foundation.

    Treatment despite travesty 

    The project commenced during the first wave of COVID-19. This aided a great impact on the initiation and implementation of the project. Considering the pandemic situation, the team understood that the implementation of the project despite the lockdown is crucial. MNCH activities across the country were largely disturbed and halted. 

    Cognizant Foundation, under its “Promoting Women and Child Health”, adopted innovative approaches to maximize impact on the beneficiaries and communities, and strengthened the delivery and impact of the programme. By considering the need for Maternal health and nutrition awareness at an early stage, the project created awareness among adolescent girls to strengthen their RCH health knowledge. 

    The team introduced various other initiatives to ensure the services reached the beneficiaries on the ground. Home deliveries which are being practiced even today in the community were leveraged for institutional deliveries. Another crucial activity carried out was the empowerment of Anganwadi workers and widening the identification of children in need of medical attention. 

    The entire project and its data is captured in the software “Comm Care” which improves the efficiency of data handling & has helped to create dashboards. 

    Healthy Impact:

    In the financial year 2021-22, this project Suraksha reached over 17,706 registrations of pregnant mothers and children (0-2 years) but despite the COVID-19 surge, the project has been able to reach the actual registration of 18,750 registrations. Reports suggest that the project has reached over 4000 high-risk pregnant women. 91 children were diagnosed with Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) and treated for the same. 

    21-year-old Sana Banao moved to Bhiwandi, Maharashtra after her marriage in search of job opportunities. A few months later after shifting, Sana was pregnant. At such a young age, Sana was unaware of the steps she needed to take for a healthy pregnancy. During the 7th month of her pregnancy, Sana became a beneficiary of Project Suraksha. 

    The outreach workers who spoke to her immediately realized that Sana lacked awareness of modern delivery and childcare techniques. Through consistent communication, awareness, and education, Sana understood the importance of institutional delivery and ensured her immediate surroundings were kept neat and tidy to prevent infections. 

    To ensure a nutritional diet, Sana was provided with a grocery kit, which she used in a productive way. In the following months, she delivered a healthy baby girl. 

    Sana says, “Project Suraksha gave me vital information which I didn’t know I needed. Thanks to this initiative by the Cognizant Foundation and CCDT, my daughter is growing up healthy. I am also sharing everything I know with other expecting mothers in the community so that they can have a safe pregnancy.” 

    Outreach workers continued to educate Sana about childcare and stressed the importance of breastfeeding until the baby girl was ready to switch to solid food. 

    Majority of maternal and child deaths occur despite known and affordable treatments being available. The initiative by Cognizant Foundation proves that the need of the hour is to ensure that women and children have access to quality health services. 


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    Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.


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