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Breastfeeding: Treating Male Partners As Important Contributors In Postnatal Care

A few days ago, Hemlata, a Nurse Mentor at The Antara Foundation (TAF), met Manoj, 25, and his wife Divya, 23, at a hospital in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara district. The young couple had welcomed their baby girl less than 24 hours earlier. Manoj, as elated as he was, stood at a distance while the nurse mentor helped his wife properly nurse the child. Manoj’s inquisitive eyes peered at his little family, hoping to understand his participation as a father. On observing this, Hemlata invited the husband in and gently guided him on how he could help and support his wife. As part of TAF’s nurse mentoring intervention, we enhance ill-equipped labour rooms and improve the knowledge and skills of delivery nurses. Apart from this, TAF nurse mentors, along with frontline health workers, also help in counselling families on antenatal care. Hemlata advised the husband on how to hold the baby and the importance of creating a calm environment for his wife. She explained to him the potential health r
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एक नायाब बालक - A unique baby

Time and again, guests who visit The Antara Foundation’s (TAF) programs in the field have said: “You are doing God’s work!” Kabir, a 15th-century Indian saint, and philosopher whose poetry touched the hearts of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs alike, had this to say about why humility is the true test of God’s work: " जब मैं था तब हरी नहीं ,  अब हरी है ,  मैं नाही। " (When my ego was present, there was no room for God; now that God is here, there is no sign of me) It is moments like this that feed my soul every day during my time at TAF in rural Madhya Pradesh. March 1, 2022 In a village in rural Madhya Pradesh This is the story of a baby pronounced ‘malformed’ and asked by the local Parihar (holy man, also known as  baba ) to be kept hidden from the world. The baby needed special care, and guidance on nourishment for a cleft lip and palate condition; the family needed support and sound medical advice. Priya Lodhi is a Program officer from TAF who looks a

From Patriarchy to Partners

By Prerna Gopal, (Sr. Program Officer, The Antara Foundation) A few years ago, I met a worried husband. To the outside world, Shyam* was a provider, a village headman, and perhaps the embodiment of all things masculine. But to me, on the warm, summer day he was a helpless man seeking answers. His wife, Geeta*, had been recently diagnosed with severe anemia while she was carrying their twin babies. They had been running around from hospital to hospital trying to figure out what “anemia” means and what they could do to protect their unborn children. Wherever they would go to get answers, Geeta would be rushed into a different room while Shyam would wait outside hoping that someone would explain to him what was going on. They were met with the words “Agli baar apni saas ko lana. Bring your mother in-law next time” and each time, Shyam would feel a little more helpless. During our conversation, Shyam couldn’t hold his anxiety in and regurgitated all his worries hoping that maybe I could

Story of baby Prachi

By Snigdha Arora (Fellow, Antara Foundation) “ Methi ki sabzi ” (a leafy vegetable commonly eaten in India), Gayatri announced excitedly over the phone when I asked her what she was making for lunch. Gayatri is an ASHA Supervisor, who proudly claims her position and oversees the work of 14 ASHAs (community health mobilizers). I met baby Prachi on the day I was accompanying Gayatri to a VHND (Village Health and Nutrition Day) in her village, Barela. VHNDs are organized monthly in each village, when critical maternal, child health and nutrition services such as ante-natal check-ups, immunizations, and nutrition services are delivered by frontline health workers to mothers and children. This one day can save many lives and significantly help reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths. A crucial element of our interventions is to train frontline workers on delivering timely and quality health services during VHNDs, ensuring every beneficiary due is attended to. “ Namaste! ”, the ANM (Auxili

Maternal Health Awareness Day

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists observes January 23rd as Maternal Health Awareness Day . In the US alone, over 60% of maternal deaths are preventable. The theme for this year’s Maternal Health Awareness Day 2022 was Adding Up to Maternal Health - highlighting the countless factors that can work together to improve maternal health. Through this visual series, we build awareness on maternal health and spotlight the factors that add up to improve maternal health - from prevention and identification of high risk pregnancies, to labor room management and postpartum care. 1.  Prevention and early action for improved outcomes Iron deficiency is one of the most common problems that particularly affects pregnant women. Left untreated, it can lead to anemia, reduced birth weights and reduced gestation periods. Early protection and prevention can drastically improve maternal health outcomes, and the Antara Foundation trains frontline workers with essential skill

Motin’s inspiring journey from a Mitanin to ANM

By Gaurav Masih (Program Officer, Chhattisgarh) My role as Program Officer gives me the opportunity to closely interact with several frontline health workers. Over the last several months, I came across some remarkable women who showed that if you have the will, you can achieve your aspirations despite all odds. I wish to narrate an inspiring story of one such person from Mahasamund district, Motin Sahu, and the challenges she went through during her journey from Mitanin (similar to an ASHA worker) to Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) [ Note 1 ]  – a role she always dreamed of. Motin Sahu (41 years old) in her current role as an ANM Since Motin was a child, she wanted to help her community when she grew up. But as is the norm in traditional societies across rural India, she got married very early. It was a long road for Motin. She worked as a teacher right after marriage. Despite support from her family and neighbors, she had to quit shortly since her Mama-Sasur (uncle-in-law) started

Know our communities

Antara Foundation works at the grassroots of public health delivery with some of the most marginalized communities in rural India. What is “community” for us? First, government frontline health workers, drawn mostly from local communities – the nurse-midwife (or ANM), the ASHA worker (village health mobilizer) and the anganwadi worker (nutrition caretaker). The second, the larger community of village populations, with our interventions focused on pregnant women, lactating mothers, newborns, and children. This article introduces you to the latter, that is, our end beneficiaries, and highlights various aspects of their lives. Where we work We work in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India’s fifth most populous state (~85m people) and second largest in expanse. Located at the heart of India (“ Madhya ” means central in Hindi), the state’s terrain is characterized by low mountain ranges, extensive plateaus and river valleys and is home to ten national parks. Large areas within the state are