Latest stories

Photo essays

Video and audio

Latest stories

 

Towards a healthier India for mothers and children

© UNICEF/ 2009
A scene from Kyunki...: Educating young women and mothers is central to preventing maternal and newborn deaths

It is paradoxical that India is at once a nation with one of the highest populations of young people and also a country facing very high rates of infant and maternal mortality. The release of UNICEF’s flagship publication The State of the World’s Children Report 2009 in New Delhi on January 15 was a time to assess where India stood, in comparison to the rest of the world, with its efforts to support and improve maternal and newborn health.

“78,000 women die from pregnancy and childbirth and about a million neonatal deaths occur in India every year. The health and survival of mothers and their newborns are intrinsically linked, and many of the same interventions that save maternal lives also benefit their infants,” said UNICEF India Representative, Karin Hulshof.

“78,000 women die from pregnancy and childbirth and about a million neonatal deaths occur in India every year. The health and survival of mothers and their newborns are intrinsically linked, and many of the same interventions that save maternal lives also benefit their infants,” said UNICEF India Representative, Karin Hulshof.

UNICEF is committed to programming in India that helps lessen the risks that pregnant women and newborn babies face. The Facts for Life Communication Initiative’s television serial, Kyunki…Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai (Because…That’s What Life Is), is one such effort, speaking to audiences in a persuasive and attractive manner so as to educate and empower parents, caregivers and others to embrace pro-social behaviour critical to the welfare of mothers, newborns and children. The entertainment-education programme that is packaged into the popular soap opera format is becoming increasingly popular with both urban and rural audiences since its launch in April 2008.

Holding fast to Facts for Life’s principle of not merely providing information, Kyunki… communicates these messages in a manner that makes it possible for viewers to incorporate them into their day-to-day living. The maternal and child health track in the show covers a number of topics that are central to changing attitudes and behaviours of audiences all around India, many of whom live in rural areas, towards early marriage, early pregnancy, maternal and child health, birth spacing and family planning. With the Facts for Life messages intricately woven into the lives of the serial’s six proactive and aspirational protagonists, Kyunki… promotes healthy behaviour and urges viewers to do away with social and gender discriminations inhibiting their well-being.

“This serial is one of the most exciting and innovative efforts to bring some very important matters to the fore. Maternal and newborn health is important for everybody, not just for women, and a vehicle such as Kyunki… can be a prime agent in bringing about the change that we are looking forward to,” Hulshof added.

Kyunki… airs on India’s national Hindi channel, Doordarshan, every Monday to Wednesday from 8:30 to 9:00 pm. In the long run, UNICEF and its government partners are hoping that the Facts for Life messages that are unpacked within the narrative of the serial will have positive outcomes on its viewers—supporting positive impact on communities.

Kyunki… airs on India’s national Hindi channel, Doordarshan, every Monday to Wednesday from 8:30 to 9:00 pm. In the long run, UNICEF and its government partners are hoping that the Facts for Life messages that are unpacked within the narrative of the serial will have positive outcomes on its viewers—supporting positive impact on communities.

“Watching a programme like Kyunki… three times a week can give people vital and reliable information that they might not be able to get anywhere else. This information is the starting point for long term behavioural change,” Hulshof said.

Myths and misconceptions, along with gender biases and economic constraints, fuel early marriages, unsafe childbirths and other practices resulting in maternal and infant mortality. Initiatives like Kyunki… aim to empower people, both in urban and rural India, to distinguish between fact and fiction and to negotiate the delicate balance between tradition and modernity for life-enhancing results.

Almost a decade into this millennium, statistics regarding maternal and child health may have improved, but a lot still needs to be done to secure the condition of the world’s mothers and children. Bringing together messages that urgently need to be communicated across India, Kyunki… is a platform to promote an environment that can enable maternal and newborn health.

For more such stories, please subscribe to our RSS Feed.

 

 

 

 

Read more

Read more about Facts for Life on page 29 of "The State of the World's Children 2009"


Search:

For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection
ADVANCE HUMANITY