New Delhi: Gulabi Didis are on the forefront of driving Reckitt’s nutrition programme Reach Each Child that prioritises adequate nutrition for children within the first 1,000 days of life (a period that begins with pregnancy and goes up to the second birthday of the child). Gulabi Didis are Community Nutrition Warriors who help ensure that no child dies due to malnutrition and every woman in their local community has a safe and healthy pregnancy.
The 10,000 workforce of Gulabi Didis, who are working across India, have helped strengthen India’s fight against maternal health and infant mortality. These warriors have taken on the responsibility of their own people and have saved countless number of lives throughout the evolution of Reach Each Child program.
Moreover, Reckitt’s programme through Reach Each Child prgramme under Banega Swasth India portfolio is working to ensure that women are getting more jobs in the aspirational districts.
Women as a ratio (not percentage) of India’s workforce has seen a marginal increase in the last few years. Reckitt wants to further the cause of employing women more women through its initiatives, as one women employed helps the society as a whole.
Reach Each Child Programme, which works in state of Maharashtra and Rajasthan, focusses on locally-led initiatives to drive its goal of zero malnutrition deaths. To achieve this goal, Gulabi Didis as community nutrition workers, are the key suppliers of information and services. These women are trained on nutrition by experts like Padmashree Dr Indira Chakravarty, Ex IMA president Dr Narender Saini and various other global experts.
Being a woman, I have pledged to improve the determinants of health of the community, particularly the ones who are left-out and reach out till the last mile. I personally believe that the Gulabi Didis are one of India’s most unique steps towards empowering woman to achieve equity in health. I have invested my time and will continue to do so to create an army of indigenous woman health crusaders so that no one is left behind, said Dr Indira Chakravarty, Padmashree Awardee, Public Health Specialist & Environmentalist.
Dr Chakravarty was speaking at the launch of Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) at Rural Hospital, Churni, Amravati district of Maharashtra, on March 1, as part of the Reach Each Child program. The initiative was inaugurated in the presence of guests like Pavneet Kaur (IAS), District Magistrate, Amravati; Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs & Partnership SOA, Reckitt, along with other dignitaries. The objective is to reach out to 20 million girls.
During the keynote address at the inauguration, Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs & Partnership SOA, Reckitt, said,
Mother and children should lead a healthy life and no child should die due to malnutrition, keeping this objective in front, our efforts and cooperation are always with the government, administration, and society. We want to narrate Bharat to Bharat story through our Gulabi Didis, who work tirelessly for their communities and with the help of good facilities, propagate best practices on health and hygiene> We support Gulabi Didis to make a sustainable change in the communities towards health outcomes. We, at Reckitt invest to support indigenous woman network who strive to win over challenges of first 1000 days of child’s life.
About The Programme
The Reach Each Child programme was initiated to improve the nutritional status by reducing stunting by 40 per cent in children under five and keeping childhood wasting rates below 5 per cent initially in Maharashtra’s Amravati and Nandurbar districts and then the programme got extended to the state of Rajasthan. According to Reckitt’s Social Impact Investment Report 2021, the programme has reached 72,700 children under five and has provided cash assistance to 161 families to pay for treatment of malnourishment. Moreover, Reckitt has supported 8,000 pregnant women through multiple interventions and helped 91 per cent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding. There’s been a significant impact on families with no malnutrition deaths among supported children in in Amravati and Nandurbar districts of Maharashtra, in the two years of the programme. Not just that. Women, who hail from local tribes have been uplifted because of the programme.
Dr Raj Bhandari, Member, National Technical Board of Nutrition and Health, NITI Aayog said,
In my decades of work in health sector, I have witnessed India has made good progress in reduction of Infant Mortality Rate, Maternal Mortality Rate and Under 5 mortality between National Family Health Survey 4 and 5. There is a huge role private sector and philanthropy can play to achieve greater impact. I am sure with the help of such partners; we will strengthen Government actions to improve health outcomes especially for the most disadvantaged groups.
IAS Pavneet Kaur, Collector & District Magistrate, Amravati ended the discussion on this note,
I thank, Reach Each Child and Reckitt for their contribution towards renovating the NRC in RH Churni, one of the remote tribal villages of Melghat. I hope that this will aid in providing better services to the malnourished children in the region and act as a confidence building measure for the parents. It has already generated a moral boost for the doctors working in the challenging area. Thanks for working in the area where it is most needed.
Up till now through the programme the following facilities have been refurbished in Maharashtra – NRC Amravati, NRC Dharni, NRC Akkalkuwa, two Anganwadi in Lawada. In the next step the programme will be focussing on refurbishing the following facilities – NRC Dhadgaon in Nandurbar district, Maharashtra and NRC Rajsamand district, Rajasthan.
The Aim Of Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC)
The aim of the NRC centre is to provide the adequate care to severely malnourished children, once they are treated for the life-threatening problems in a hospital or in a residential care facility. The objective of making such centres is to provide children with initial care once the ailments have been treated. The facility is intended to function as a bridge between hospital and home care and is equipped with healthcare personnels who help children become healthy. For them it acts like a home in which they are treated for a short period of time.
Currently, all the facilities that are built as NRCs follow the state guidelines along with those set by National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). All the refurbishments are done under the supervision of the district magistrate so that there is no compromise on the quality checks.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. 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 will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.