- Ronita Krishna Rekhi was in Guwahati, her hometown to deliver her baby
- Ms Rekhi, a mother to a baby girl, volunteered to nurse other newborns
- During the second COVID wave, Ms Rekhi decided to provide human milk
New Delhi: Not all heroes wear capes and Ronita Krishna Sharma Rekhi, a lactating mother is a true-blue example of it. Ms Rekhi, a mother of a four-month-old girl, has volunteered to breastfeed newborns who have either lost their mothers to COVID-19 or whose mothers have tested positive and are in isolation. Ms Rekhi is a Mumbai-based celebrity and production manager who had gone back to Guwahati, her hometown, during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India and there she decided to offer both human milk and breastfeed newborns. Ms Rekhi joined the NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India’s Saluting The COVID Heroes townhall and talked at length about her initiative.
Recalling the idea behind her noble campaign, Ms Rekhi said,
This all started one day when I was just sitting and going through my Twitter account and I read about a little baby who lost his mother to COVID. There was an appeal, from I think one of his family members, that they need human milk because the baby was a premature baby and when it’s a premature baby, a lot of them don’t take formula milk. At that time, I was in Guwahati; I had gone there to deliver my baby and COVID cases were increasing there. After reading the tweet, I thought to myself that maybe there is a sound child here who must have lost a mother or must be in need of breastmilk and that is when I thought that I would also want to contribute.
Ms Rekhi added that during the first wave of the pandemic and lockdown in the country, she helped people in her own way. However, after delivering a baby in March and being a new mother, she could not go out and that made her feel helpless. She said,
I remember, last lockdown, with whatever little we could, you know, as a society, as a responsible citizen, I went out and did my bit. But, this time I was a new mom and I thought this is the only thing that I can offer. I just put it out on my social media saying if there is any baby in Guwahati who is in need of human milk, I am there. I will be more than willing to breastfeed that baby or I will offer them my milk.
Only for guwahati as I live here. If any new born needs breast milk I’m here to help. This is the least I can do at this time #COVIDSecondWaveInIndia #india #CovidSOS #CovidIndia pic.twitter.com/GSnFK2FLTQ
— RonitaKrishnaSharma (@ronitasharma) May 4, 2021
The COVID warrior informed that back in May she was in Guwahati with her husband and brother who supported her decision fully and was extremely happy and proud of it. Ms Rekhi’s husband did ask her if she is sure about the decision and backed her. When asked if there is any risk associated, Ms Rekhi said, there is no harm and added,
Of course, I have to follow a few hygiene measures but otherwise, there is no risk you know because the way you are feeding your own child, you can feed other babies also. At that time, I didn’t think about the risk. I didn’t think about anything. All I thought was, maybe if there is any child out there, in need I can be of some help.
While signing off, Ms Rekhi reiterated one of the lessons that is often taught to us while growing up, ‘sharing is caring’. Following the same lesson, she took this decision and said,
For me, the biggest thing is, we say that our children must learn how to share. When my baby will grow up one day, I will tell her that you know, the biggest sharing that I could do on her behalf was my milk.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.