Engendering Health Behaviour Change
This is the story of how a mother-in-law brought about a behavioral change regarding health practices among her family members in Sarawan village in Tarabganj block of Gonda district in UP. The state fares poorly in terms of maternal and child health indicators, child feeding practices and nutritional status if children. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding for children under six months of age is only 43 percent. Rampati, a 55-year-old woman member of an SHG in Sarawan recalls the pain of losing a grandchild due to carelessness and ignorance about the threat and susceptibility of a child to infection from water-borne diseases resulting from giving water or other liquids instead of exclusively breastfeeding the new-born. She has now become the decision maker concerning the weaning practices followed by her daughter-in-law for the good health of her new-born child.
Through the SHG meetings and facilitated discussion on maternal and neonatal health care practices, Rampati garnered knowledge about the correct practices of breastfeeding – correct positioning of the nipple and the baby’s mouth, early initiation of breastfeeding, Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) and exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of the child. When her daughter-in-law delivered her baby, this time Rampati pursued for early initiation of breastfeeding at the CHC and made it definitive to not feed any liquids or water to the child apart from mother’s breast milk till six months of age. The baby is now over six months old and is healthy weighing about 5 kgs.