Medical Camp Update | Mother and Child Project | Medical Camp Director Interview | Project Update Charts
With Bhagavan's blessing, from December, 2010 through February, 2011, the medical camp team surveyed additional villages for service. Previously 45 villages were directly served by the camps. In December this was increased to 58 villages.
After this, a new model for service has been introduced, in which twelve 'medical center' villages have been established for the medical camps, and women and children now come to this central point for service, from an average of ten villages in the surrounding catchment area of each 'medical center'. Because of this new model, approximately 130 villages are now being served.
High protein mix packets, vitamins and medicines continue to be distributed. Water filters continue to be given to village schools; hygiene kits and saris to the new mothers who come to the camps, and baby kits to the infants. As of May, 2011, shoulder bags are now also being given to the government village health workers (ASHA workers) who help in bringing the pregnant ladies to our camps.
From January to May, 2011, 1,908 prenatal checkups, 1,432 checkups for infants under one year, and 1,826 checkups for children from two years to five years were performed in our medical camps.
The Mother and Child Project offers free prenatal and postnatal care to women, along with immunization and medical care for infants and very young children, in the villages of Sathya Sai mandal. Once a month, teams consisting of doctors, medical technicians and sevadals, from all over Andrah Pradesh trek down the narrow bumpy roads to remote villages, along with a fully equipped "Mother and Child" ambulance provided by Bhagavan. Women receive on-going medical and nutritional support, as well as training in childcare, personal hygiene and spirituality. This loving care extends to the village headmen, local schoolteachers and elders, who are involved in activities to ensure that women have community support.
The project is also committed to improving knowledge and training for local birth attendants, educating them to provide better care for mothers before, during and after delivery. "Human birth is a gift from God," says Swami. "It is only by the strength of a mother's will that a child will come up in life. Hence she must be given pride of place. She must be respected and cared for."
Post natal visits train mothers in better infant care and include preventive healthcare education, immunizations and on-going nutritional counseling. "It is highly important to take care of the health of children," says Bhagavan. "Health is the foundation upon which human life rests."
A healthy mother = a healthy baby = a healthy nation.
The Easwaramma Women's Welfare Trust continues with the program of monthly medical camps. Presently we serve 30 villages.
The doctor who directs our medical camps reflected over the almost four years of these EWWT medical camps. "There have been many changes as a result of these camps. The women understand so much better about the importance of prenatal care, and cleanliness and hygiene. Before our camps, they were afraid of immunizations. Now they come and ask us for them! There has been a widespread increase in breastfeeding, as well, because they now understand how much this helps the child, especially with immunities.
"We did cooking demonstrations in many villages, showing the ladies how to cook healthy affordable food, with an emphasis on dark leafy greens. The ladies really enjoyed these lessons, especially since we gave them samples. As a result of the diet and cooking education, there has been an improvement in overall health, and especially a reduction of anemia.
"They are also using the water filters we give out, at least for their children's water, which protects them from viruses, parasites, bacteria and high levels of fluoride. Almost all of the children are now also being sent to school as a result of our repeated urging. Before the camps, since these women were not themselves educated, they did not value schooling and they kept the children with them.
"Before we started the camps, about 75% of infant deliveries were done at home, which meant high numbers of sick infants and stillborns. Now the situation is reversed - about 75% of deliveries are done in the hospital, with near-zero rates of mortality and morbidity (sickness) for the infants, and a zero rate for the mothers.
"Their overall awareness of health has improved so much!"