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Improving Reproductive and Child Health in Palamu

Location: Palamu

Pregnant women and infants represent a particularly vulnerable population among the deprived rural communities of Bihar and Jharkhand, and simple interventions in the area of reproductive and child health (RCH) can lead to significant health improvements that have lasting positive impact for the next generation and beyond. A major obstacle to raising health standards in rural communities, especially those located in remote and difficult terrain, is the lack of local health facilities and inaccessibility of those that do exist. IDF, sponsored by the National Foundation for India, developed an intervention targeting adolescents and pregnant women and infants in the Patan block of Palamu district, with the goal of improving overall RCH health indicators.

IDF's strategy was first to create a receptive environment by holding small group meetings with households and community stakeholders, then to disseminate basic information to increase awareness and knowledge of RCH-related issues, and finally to establish RCH centers in villages where no health services were previously available. The project established basic facilities to handle routine care and ensure access to the public health workers who provide routine maternal and child health care and distribute essential supplies, from vitamins to condoms.

As a result of these interventions, the number of supervised deliveries and child immunization rates increased, while reproductive tract infections declined. Although the project's resources were too limited to have a large-scale impact, they nevertheless brought a new sense of empowerment to the pivotal adolescent population, which has not only led directly to fewer child marriages but has also created a cadre of standard bearers for behavioral change throughout their communities.

Click here for the project report (pdf).

Health kit developed by IDF for community-based RCH centers