Real Lives - Archives


Polio Eradication

Interns' field work


Water, Environment and Sanitation


Child Protection



Real Lives - Archives

New tools to combat Maternal Mortality in Bihar
24-year old Neela Devi was due for her first delivery. Her husband, Bhushan Kumar, a 28-year old labourer working at a construction site in Delhi as a manual labourer, could not come home to be with her because of the prohibitive cost of travel.

Julie’s commitment inspires others
It was an extremely hot day in May 2008 and not a soul stirred in the villages of Khagaria district of Bihar but the polio immunization team was busy on their rounds.

Peer Educators in Valsad bring about behaviour change
“The play that the girls performed today taught me why I must wash my hands with soap before eating”, said Geeta Tandel, a high school student from village Hingraj of Valsad district.

Save a child's life: Promote breastfeeding
It is here that I met Rehana Bibi, mother of three and village brand ambassador for breastfeeding. Rizwan, six months old, is her third son and weighs above normal as compared to other infants his age.

Breastfeeding gives children the best start in life
'Breastfeeding helps save lives of children' stressed UNICEF State Representative for West Bengal Lori Calvo while addressing a group of participants at ‘training of trainers’ on Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices.

A day in the life of a Purulia health worker
Dipali Mahato’s working day begins at sun-up. Rushing through her domestic chores, she leaves for her daily rounds as an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) worker, proudly carrying her IMNCI kit in her shoulder bag.

Empowering field functionaries to save lives
Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness (IMNCI) is a comprehensive strategy which is empowering field functionaries to save lives of young infants and under five children.

Winning against polio with Razda Begum
Razda Begum sits with her decorated white chart paper which has the Mohallah Sufi Khan in Farrukhabad mapped out with its masjids (mosques), public facilities, the “grids” within the area and the “influencers” who work for the polio eradication programme

Menstrual Hygiene and the girl child - A Case Study
Deepika is seen dropping the Rs 2/- coin in the sanitary napkin vending machine. The thirteen-year-old is unprepared for the onset of her menstrual periods. Yogeshwari, her friend and classmate has accompanied her to the staffroom.

Safe motherhood remains a challenge in MP...
Nebi Bai, a young mother, was seven month pregnant when she suddenly developed acute stomach cramps. A resident of tribal hamlet Nidanpur in Madhya Pradesh, Neba Bai was taken to Chanderi Community Health Centre, around 20 kilometers away...

Child survival - the need of the hour
Even the poorest countries facing the most difficult circumstances – including poverty, armed conflict, natural disaster or complex emergencies involving displaced populations, food insecurity and disease – can take proactive steps to boost maternal...

BMC Kusum on motorcycle gets results, and fast
There were 126 families who refused and resisted (sometimes tacitly) to immunize their children in the past. Now there are only three “resistant” families. “Soon we will convert them too,” said Dr Pahal Singh, the MOIC.

Polio programme visibility soars with Farooque Shaikh’s visit
Compared with 548 cases in 2006, Uttar Pradesh has 297 polio cases so far this year. Out of these, 277 are caused by the type 3 virus and the remaining by the type 1 virus. The success in controlling the P1 virus has been hailed as a major programme break

Give life to the yet to be born child: Prevent mother to child transmission of HIV
“What? Can an unborn child contract HIV?” exclaims the 20 year old village girl with disbelief and fear.. She is shaken to the core when she comes to know that her child is HIV positive.

Malnutrition Treatment Centers – a boon for undernourished children
Bharat’s mother cuddling his frail body in her arms traveled from far flung Luni block in Jodhpur district to the District Hospital, referred by an Anganwadi worker.One look at the child and the doctor said “Take him straight to the Malnutrition Treatment

Rural Karnataka school kids improve health and environment
When 12 -year old Hemalatha welcomes you at the gate of her school, she does it is with ease and panache. For she is the ‘chief minister’ of the Government Lower Primary School at Devarahalli, in Karnataka.

Women of Junia show the way
The dusty road, coming off the NH 8 near village Dooni in Tonk district of Rajasthan, leads to the village Junia, where UNICEF has assisted a voluntary organisation Bal Rashmi to promote integrated development for women and children.

Orissa youths take oath as safe motherhood advocates
It is half past one in the night and the downpour is quite heavy. Three youths are pulling a rickety cycle rickshaw through the mud-slippery village roads. They arrive at the primary health centre (PHC) carrying a pregnant woman.

A proactive approach to neo-natal health
Perpetuating antiquated practices at birth in Rajasthan’s villages seriously threaten the survival of newborns in this state. Preventing the mother and newborn from stepping out of the home for the first 40 days is one such practice.

Saving children's lives in Bihar: Partnering with NGOs for IMNCI
As Kavita Kumari sits at the Anganwadi Centre familiarising children with numbers and alphabets, mothers and grandmothers keep pouring in. They come with children who have high fever, a bruise that is not getting healed, even more serious complaints

Public-Private partnerships bring Kangaroo Mother Care to Karanjberi
No one had heard about “Kangaroo Mother Care” in Karanjberi till Paru Ben, the village anganwadi worker, showed rural mothers how this practice of holding a newborn, skin-to-skin (against the parent’s chest) could help pre-term, low birth-weight babies

4.6 million children to get Japanese Encephalitis shots by May 31 in Gorakhpur, U.P.
Gorakhpur, May 26: For the diminutive five year old Mohd Shafi it may have appeared as yet another joyful piggyback ride by his ever-indulgent older sister Fatima, but for the latter, the journey to the vaccination booth was one with a deeper purpose.

Ensuring safe motherhood
Renuka Giri’s working day begins quite early in the morning. This young and motivated ANM (Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife) in Dhanora village health center in Latur, Maharashtra leaves for her daily round of home visits at around 8 am.

Phulpadar – the village with 4 Traditional Birth Attendants
We reached Phulpadar village in Koraput block after traveling around 18 kilometers, 15 on a vehicle and 3 on foot crossing a mountain river. The village road has never seen a vehicle in its life.

Amma at 73 is on Mission Eradication
At her age most people would be content to spend their time on the charpai (cot), not on their feet. But not 73-year-old Naseeran. What happened years ago still haunts her, and she has made it her mission that no mother should repeat her mistake.

The women salt traders of Koraput
Padampur, Koraput, Orissa: Dana Ambapadia was a salt trader. She and her fellow Self Help Group members traded iodized salt deep in the villages of the remote tribal district of Koraput.

Bringing life back from the brink
It was no celebration in Malati Bahuja’s family when she delivered a child a few days ago. With a birth weight of 920 grams, Malati and her family worried that the baby would not survive. Their apprehensions did not come without reason.

Trendsetter of Tunpar
Koraput, Orissa: Sadamani Majhi is an unlikely trendsetter. But this shy, 22 year-old tribal woman from Tunpar village in Koraput district of Orissa has sparked a trend by delivering her first child in March this year at a primary health centre.

The Bhawander in Tonk - after the storm, the rain
Rumbling along a dusty and bumpy road, it takes almost one and half hours to traverse a distance of 45 kms from Jaipur to reach Salilakhapura, a village which is almost in the back-of-the-beyond.

Crossing communication hurdles, story of UP village
“I will kill my son if you give him polio drops”, a man threatened, holding a sharp knife close his three-year old’s throat, terrifying the polio vaccinator who stood at his doorstep.

Opposing family joins polio eradication campaign in Moradabad
Until a few months ago, Yaseem and his wife used to hide their four children from the polio vaccinators and volunteers, often slamming the door on their faces, fearing the polio vaccine.

Crippled by polio, Moradabad girl mobilizes villagers
“Would you like to see your child crippled like me,” asks Mehrab Jahan as she counsels families to vaccinate their children against polio, in this village in Moradabad district of India.

Importance of Breast Feeding
Four months old Nisha was the center of attraction for the women’s meeting held in Sarola village.

Saving mothers, saving families in West Bengal
She saved a mother and child from dying today itself!” is how Kakoli Chowdhury, a petite, soft-spoken woman was described to me during routine field monitoring.

A lifeline for the newborn
When 26-year-old Kasthuri gave birth to twins in January this year, she was more scared than happy. Her baby girl weighed only 1.8 kilograms

IMNCI through the eyes of a middle-class mother in Andaman islands
Chitra, a young mother of two at Bathuvasti village in the outskirts of Port Blair, capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands , would qualify as "educated, middle class" in the Indian context. She has a post-graduate degree in library science;

Dholpur - where a Helpline saves lives
Ramsakhi, an expectant mother, resident of a remote village ‘Kankari’ in Dholpur district of Rajasthan is alive today, thanks to the Janani Surakasha (Safe Motherhood) Obstetric Helpline.

Jaimun Khatun's half-pill of trust and remedy
Forty-year old Jaimun Khatun, an anganwadi worker, considers herself to be fortunate that her work requires her to be with children. She lives in Chatwal village in Jharkhand's Ranchi district

Making Every Child Count
Usha Sakat, an Aanganwadi Worker in Honala village in Osmanabad district of the state of Maharashtra, proudly recalls how she succeeded in improving the health of an underweight newborn baby girl in her village.

The fate of three mothers
Poongadi, 23, Radhika, 21, and Panchali, 28, were in various stages of pregnancy when the tsunami struck their villages on the southeastern coast of India on December 26, 2004.

Laxmipriya saves a life - a real life story from Mayurbhanj district of Orissa
Laxmipriya, an Anganwadi worker in Baunspal village in the state of Orissa, was on her regular home visits when she came across a very feverish one-month old Bishal, son of Gopabandhu and Mausumi Behera.

Iodine Uppu
Nine-year old Saravanan and his older brother Gowri Sankar talk to R Pandu Rangarao at the UNICEF IDD stall in Trichy - on what they know about iodised salt or iodised 'uppu'

Gopinath recalls Special Envoy Clinton's Nagapattinam visit
UNICEF extender Gopinath Durairajan chronicles the visit of Special Envoy Clinton to Nagapattinam

A day with a vaccinator in Bihar
As the sun appears behind the palm fronds in Patna's Fatuah block, the extent of flooding is at once obvious.

Reaching the unreached in Orissa
It’s almost 7 a.m in the morning. Ms. Usharani Haldar, in the Anganwadi (childcare) centre, is busy preparing for the house-to-house visits on the 2nd day of the State polio mop-up campaign. She has to start early.

Inspired champions
On the face of it, Noorjehan, a mother in her mid-fifties, is like any other woman of her community in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh.



For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection