Glenmark Foundation Protects Mothers and Infants via Project Kavach
The risk of death amongst new-born babies as per the records of World Health Organization (WHO) is the highest within a few days of birth. This is where the role of Glenmark Foundation’s Project Kavach comes into play. A flagship CSR project meaning shield or protection, it aligns well with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this project is all about providing healthcare services of children and infants from marginalized communities in India while protecting them from health risks. The project heads of Glenmark Foundation are certain that most of these children can be saved by simple access to affordable interventions. Studies have also revealed that almost half the number of early infant and child mortality incidents are related to malnutrition. Project Kavach is named after a Sanskrit term “Kavach” which means a shield, symbolic of protection. The project is a flagship CSR program of Glenmark Foundation.
Mr. Ramesh Bhagora, SDM Ankleshwar said, “I relate to the Institute for Global Development (IGD) since its inception, and I have closely observed & monitored work done by IGD under Glenmark Project Kavach. Whole team members working under Glenmark Project Kavach have put in lot of hard work by coordinating with Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and ANMs of total-15 Anganwadi Centres of both Ankleshwar and Vagra Block, district Bharuch. They had also worked in coordination with us during the COVID-19 pandemic which is highly recognizable.” Glenmark Foundation has been actively working with communities at grassroots level to improve positive health seeking behaviour among pregnant women.
Project Kavach has already impacted mothers and children across the states of Himanchal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Sikkim, among other states. Through various interventions launched along with NGO partners, the project aims at encouraging a positive health seeking behaviour among pregnant women and mothers with infants, and caregivers towards right nutrition including – good hygiene practices and ensuring complete immunization for children. “We have been able to positively impact over 19,70,000 lives through our various child health initiatives over the years,” said the Project Head of Kavach.
Building partnerships with government bodies, NGOs and the local communities has continuously multiplied the magnitude of this impact. It has resulted in the improvement of on the ground results, while the technological infrastructure has even enabled our country to keep its children safer amidst the pandemic. In Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, the advocacy component of project has contributed to appointment of trained female community health activists (ASHA workers) to work as an interface between the public health system and our supported villages.
The Health on Wheels intervention in Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh has impacted the targeted villages in various ways. They have received regular and quality healthcare services at their doorsteps. The project has resulted in public awareness and sensitization that has played a key role in protecting the children, who is the future of our nation. The mobile ambulatory care reaches out to remotest forest-based villages which do not have accessibility to proper health care in Madhya Pradesh.
People are sensitized on the issues of various healthcare needs and change required in their lifestyle to arrest the incidence of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension. These ailments are noticed to be rampant among the people in these locations. Gurpreet Singh Grewal, Program Officer IGD said, “Project Kavach is one of its kind holistic project which covers different aspects of health in a human lifecycle right from inception to delivery to the rest of the life through pre-conception care, care during pregnancy, postnatal care, care of newborn child, immunization, adolescent care and later adults and old age gets benefited by MMU services. Making a positive impact in someone’s life is the best one can do which is what getting delivered through Glenmark Project Kavach. Many Thanks and Congratulations to Glenmark Foundation.”
When the people at the grassroot levels are impacted, especially during the trying times of the existing pandemic, it becomes a shining light that points at achievement and signals forthcoming success. Ambulatory care provided to women and others who need medical care was crucial during COVID times. It runs five days a week to attend to the children with Severe Acute Malnourishment (SAM) condition who are identified and referred to the nutritional rehabilitation centre. Another feather in the cap is that the efforts of this project became a means to transform Anganwadis (Day Care Centres) to Model Anganwadis making them child friendly, thus ensuring maximum attendance. These centres are the best way to track the child services that are provided to supplement nutrition and contribute towards immunization.
Moving ahead, Project Kavach plans to conduct workshops for all related stakeholders including the government to emphasise on the work and the positive impact of the health initiatives on the local communities. Moreover, the cost-effectiveness of the mMitra project which we run along with our NGO partner Armman,will be enhanced by identifying the most underprivileged beneficiaries from urban areas who would benefit from this type of intervention. mMitra is a free mobile-based voice messaging service that provides timed and powerful bytes of comprehensive information to pregnant and new mothers on antenatal and neonatal care.
Twenty-three-year-old Supriya who was expecting her first child was anxious as her family did not have any educated members. On one of her visits to the hospital, she filled the mMitra form. Soon she started receiving pregnancy related information on her phone and her anxiety related to pregnancy slowly started to fade away. She said that she felt like mMitra was a wise old family member, who guided her with useful tips and Dos & Don’ts during her pregnancy. Thanks to mMitra, she became aware of the importance of nutritional supplements during pregnancy, which helped her, and her baby stay healthy.
Another story is of Seema, a beneficiary at the Sion Hospital antenatal OPD. She informed our health supervisor that mMitra voice calls relieved her fears of her thyroid problem and the changes due to pregnancy. She is happy and confident now since mMitra is providing correct and timely knowledge on improving nutrition and healthcare both for herself and her baby.
mMitra voice messages of 60-90 seconds in Hindi/Marathi are sent to mobiles of each enrolled woman twice weekly during pregnancy and once every day in the first week after birth. This service continues with one message per week till the child is one year old. These messages are medically verified and relevant to the gestational age of the pregnancy. The project would apply this to as many individuals with the existing technology and health infrastructure – towards maximum benefit.