Nagpur : On this National Girl Child day, we take a look at how several SuPoshan Sanginis are working relentlessly towards alleviating malnutrition and anaemia among young girls residing in the rural districts of India.
Today, we see women globally breaking the glass ceiling and making commendable progress in fields such as technology, entertainment, healthcare, and others. But there are many young girls in rural areas who are suffering from anaemia and malnutrition which is making their dreams of making it big, even more difficult, every single day.
Even today, malnutrition and anaemia among children and young girls are prevalent, especially in the rural sectors. The foremost reasons are lack of awareness, proper information, and guidance.
With an aim to create awareness regarding these health conditions, Fortune SuPoshan Project, a CSR initiative of Adani Wilmar Limited – implemented by the Adani Foundation, has been relentlessly working with children under five years of age, women of reproductive age, and young girls residing across 20 rural districts in India.
These issues are addressed and handled by SuPoshan Sanginis – village health volunteers – who play an important role in raising awareness about health and nutrition, referring severely malnourished children, promoting backyard Nutri-garden, and encouraging behavioral change within the project’s target populations.
However, things on the field are not always easy for these Sanginis. Financial constraints, social stigma, and taboos are some of the challenges that they face regularly. During a routine home visit, SuPoshan Sangini, Sumitra Botre, 35, came across 19-year-old Karishma Kishanrao Raut residing in Sarra village, Nagpur, Maharashtra.
The adolescent girl looked pale, underweight, and showed signs of low concentration. But the parents had already spent a lot on her treatment with no signs of improvement and were not ready to spend any more. “Lack of financial support and awareness often are some of the major obstacles that hindered Karishma’s treatment. It took regular counseling for over 3-4 months by team Suposhan, for the girl’s father to realize the severity of the issue,” says, Sumitra.
When the team took Karishma to the nearest health center, they found her haemoglobin levels to be severely low, and was diagnosed as anaemic. She was immediately admitted to the district hospital and in a week’s time, she started showing signs of improvement. “We continued with regular follow-ups and counselling even after the treatment. Karishma’s family is happy and relieved to see their daughter healthy, happy and are grateful for our timely intervention,” adds Botre.
It is not always the lack of awareness but difficulty getting through to the parents which becomes the tougher challenge. Another Sangini, Kalavatiben Vasava, 28, adds, “During a group discussion with adolescent girls, I came across 21-year-old Amita Nandod from Bhuchhad village, Gujarat, who would constantly feel lethargic and chronic fatigue.”
She further adds, “After conducting a few tests at the local health center, it was revealed that her hemoglobin levels were very low. Her parents were laborers and her father had severe substance abuse issues due to making the parents understand the severity of the issue became a big task for us Sanginis.”
So, Kalavatiben decided to help Amita by educating her on different food groups that can increase her hameoglobin levels, showing how to prepare nutritious meals with locally available ingredients, and the importance of external sources of iron and folic acid. “These small steps helped Amita to get better and healthier. Now, even her parents are happy with the results and the efforts put in by our team and Amita,” she adds.
“As a Sangini we face many challenges and hurdles daily, but when we can help a family, more importantly, a young girl, we feel truly blessed. These initiatives have also helped us to push our boundaries to help as many young girls as we can,” echoes both Sumitra and Kalavatiben.
Since the initiative’s inception in 2016, over 500 SuPoshan Sanginis have been associated with Fortune SuPoshan, and their timely intervention has supported thousands of young adolescent girls across locations.