We met them in a perfect spot under a shade tree on a blazing hot morning with temperatures reaching well above 100 degrees even before most headed out for the day. When we arrived at the Okhla community courtyard the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) and Anganwadi health workers had already patiently waited for us with purses on laps and hands crossed talking quietly amongst themselves. They welcomed us as we sat. The meeting was arranged by Save the Children’s Delhi office that works throughout the city’s various zones providing supplementary health services to help keep women and children alive.
Continue reading on Impatient Optimists.
As we sat with an expecting mothers’ group in Okhla slum in south Delhi with Save the Children India we learned that the government provides a countrywide incentive program for women to deliver their babies in a hospital as opposed to delivering at home. While monetary payment to give birth in an institution would help many poor Indian families particularly those who are migrant workers and slum dwellers it isn’t a foolproof way to entice expectant mothers into government hospitals.
Some still believe the traditional way of delivering at home with a midwife is far better than delivering in an institution. This goes back to a wide-held belief that many believe hospitals are intended solely for people who are sick and pregnancy isn’t seen as a sickness. Couple this with a healthcare system with great faults and many expectant Indian mothers opt for home deliveries despite the risk of losing their babies or even losing their own lives.
India, despite its soaring economic growth, spends less than 1% of its GDP on healthcare. In a country with 1.2 billion people this is certainly problematic especially as most healthcare is sought out at private clinics despite the high cost of services. Government run hospitals are in bad condition with routinely absentee doctors and a lack of medicines and medical supplies. Christopher Werth, an International Reporting fellow, recently reported for the BBC about India’s healthcare dilemma.
As I have mentioned before one of the cornerstones of Mom Bloggers for Social Good is making global connections both online and offline, at home and abroad. While in Delhi with Nicole Melancon we met with Vandana Mahajan Khemka of Mumsphere. It was wonderful meeting a fellow mom blogger while in India showing that connections that are made online are easily translated into real world meetings.
Vandana, also a crafter, came bearing gifts of traditional Indian paperwork and then we all went to visit the wonderful Protsahan school in Uttam Nagar and ended the evening with a traditional Indian dinner.
The global community of mom bloggers who are doing good is endless. I personally cannot wait to meet more mom bloggers here in the States and those who hail from abroad who are a part of this community.
Building global connections both online and offline is the cornerstone of Mom Bloggers for Social Good. Next week I, along with Social Good Mom and Global Team of 200 member Nicole Melancon (@thirdeyemom, Third Eye Mom), will travel to Delhi, India to meet some of our partners as well as meet fellow Social Good Moms who live in India. It’s going to be a great week, full of discoveries, education, and information and we’ll be sharing all along the way! We hope you follow our journey.
– Jennifer James, Founder, Mom Bloggers for Social Good
We would like to thank Sevenly for being a trip sponsor. If you would also like to partner with us on our trip to India, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Follow Our Journey From May 20 – 24, 2013. #SocialGoodMomsIndia
While on press trips abroad it is always nice to know people are listening and reading back home. That’s why we’re happy to share the latest from the International Reporting Project’s new media journalists who are reporting about child survival in India.
Read our first post: New Media Journalists Travel to India, Report on Child Survival.
How Biometric Innovation is Helping TB Patients in India (Jennifer Uloma Igwe)
A common health challenge in the settlement is tuberculosis. The project we visited, called Operation Asha, is saving lives in the area through a biometric (fingerprint) system used to track patients and to ensure they take their medications.
Safe Drinking Water in India: How Smart Design Positioned Unilever as a Leader (Leon Kaye)
Hindustan Unilever is India’s largest consumer goods company, with $4 billion in annual sales and over 16,000 employees–over 5,000 of whom work at the company’s headquarters in suburban Mumbai. The division of the Dutch-British conglomerate dates back to the 1930s and its oldest brand has its origins in 1885.
My First Night In Mumbai, India (Lindsey Mastis) Also, read Visiting Mumbai’s Slums by Mastis.
It was already dark. Already past 10 p.m. But the city was alive. Shops looked open It seemed everyone was awake. People were walking around, and some cars were packed full of small children. This would be considered pretty unusual in America on a school night.
Then, on the side of the road, I noticed families.
I thought to myself, “They must live there. Under that bridge. How do they do it? How do they stay safe at night?” Our car continued on. The driver asked me if I wanted them to stop so I could take pictures. I said no, as I snapped a few pictures from my seat. It was so dark, my photos were coming out blurry.
Follow the journalists’ tweets at #IRPIndia.
Read more at the International Reporting Project.
Photo: United Nations