UP: A new chapter in newborn health care in villages
Making the crucial difference between life and death, baby care teams are now changing the manner in which newborns with low birth weight are treated in remote villages across Rae Bareli district, ensuring that the infants make a safe and healthy start to life.
The baby care team comprises five medical staff -- doctor, staff nurse, block level NHM worker, auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) and accredited social health activist (ASHA) – that visits homes with the Gram Pradhan after the baby is discharged from the community health centres and checks on the health of the baby and the mother.
“Such an effort is being made for the first time to make sure babies with low birth weight who are discharged get treatment and right care even at home, which often becomes difficult for the mother once she reaches the village,” said Raghav Krishna, director, social impact, at the community empowerment lab, a community entrenched scientific research and innovation organisation based in Shivgarh. Krishna is coordinating the baby care team visits.
At the CHC, these babies are first kept in the Kangaroo Care Lounge, a place where the mother learns and gives skin-to-skin care and exclusive breastfeeding to the child until the weight is achieved. But the follow-up becomes necessary to ensure the baby grows with correct weight. The concept is to give two visits to each child in the first month of life.
This idea of a baby care team was first suggested by the medical officer in charge (MOIC) of Shivgarh CHC in Rae Bareli and when it was discussed with other MOICs in the district, Dalmau CHC formed a baby care team immediately and visited the first newborn the very next day at its home.
“Such an initiative is unheard of in Uttar Pradesh because it has never been thought that doctors and frontline health workers would of their own volition venture out to such places in service of the public. In a state struggling to attract pediatricians to work in rural areas, here is a team that is actively caring for these rural newborns and mothers,” said Raghav.
Since July 1, Shivgarh, Dalmau, Kheero, Maharajganj and Bachchrawan CHCs have all started baby care teams which visit newborns with low birth weight on a weekly basis. Other CHCs in Rae Bareli are in the process of starting such teams.
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