Every child deserves the best start when they come into this world

Tetri Devi weighed a mere 32 kgs during her pregnancy. She was not only anemic but was also suffering from complications of diarrhoea and malnutrition.

Neha Chhetri
Tetri Devi holding her son Dhanraj up in the air.
UNICEF India

01 July 2019

A brick kiln worker, Tetri Devi weighed a mere 32 kgs during her pregnancy. She was not only anemic but was also suffering from complications of diarrhoea and malnutrition. To support her family, she worked in harsh conditions in a brick kiln till the eighth month of her complicated pregnancy. It was during this difficult time an ASHA worker – Pratima Devi visited her. She counselled and assisted her to SDH (Sub division hospital) Sherghati where Tetri Devi was provided with much needed medical care and medicines. 

She was taught about nutritious food, proper personal care and the importance of giving birth in a hospital. With timely help from Pratima Devi, Tetri Devi gave birth to Dhanraj.

Mother and father holding baby Dhanraj.
UNICEF India
Mother and father holding baby Dhanraj.

Unfortunately Tetri Devi’s struggles did not stop there! As soon as Dhanraj was born, he was unable to breathe due to hypothermia, a very dangerous state for newborns. He was immediately rushed to the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU)* in the hospital so that he could be given proper medical help. Thanks to the dedicated work of the health workers, doctors and nurses, Dhanraj defied expectations and survived.

Dhanraj is now seven months old and weights 2.2. kgs. Pratima Devi regularly visits Tetri Devi’s house and has started  introducing the family to complementary feeding for little Dhanraj.

Neha Chhetri, a UNICEF staff, from the headquarters in New Delhi, visits seven month old Dhanraj Kumar, to reflect on his successful story of recovery.
UNICEF India/UN0318881/Latif
Neha Chhetri, a UNICEF staff, from the headquarters in New Delhi, visits seven month old Dhanraj Kumar, to reflect on his successful story of recovery.

The situation in the area where Tetri Devi lives is very grave. Health workers like Pratima Devi visit families at regular intervals to check on the well-being of the mother and baby. For areas such as Sherghati, where poverty, mal nourishment and lack of awareness are the key reasons for newborn deaths these ASHA workers are a blessing in disguise.

Tetri Devi holding her son Dhanraj and smiling.
UNICEF India
Tetri Devi holding her son Dhanraj and smiling.

UNICEF works with the Government of India to train ASHA workers at the block level. The work of ASHA workers is crucial in identifying, monitoring and counselling mothers and family, particularly in areas with high-risk pregnancy. In addition, UNICEF provides training to healthcare professionals in (SNCUs) across India and data operators to follow up and monitor babies and their families to help ensure every child gets a fair start in life.

There is no price that can match up to the joy of a mother who sees her baby survive and thrive.

 

* - SNCU is a wing in government hospitals with state of the art equipment to treat sick newborns.