“Moms are the one who are at centre of our programmes, they are the caregivers, they are the ones who will be awarded and rewarded,” says Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs & Partnerships Reckitt as he speaks to team Banega Swasth India on the occasion of Mother’s Day. He said that the initiatives Reckitt has been undertaking since 2014 in India have been ‘truly transformational’ in embedding hygiene as a pillar of health in the country.
A Brief About Reckitt’s Self-Care Programme Targeting Mothers
Reckitt’s various projects have impacted people, especially women across the country with programmes that improve hygiene behaviour, child nutrition, maternal health and sexual education.
According to Reckitt’s Social Impact Investment Report 2021, with Reckitt’s efforts in improving access to care and support before, during and after pregnancy, globally, 11 lakh new mothers had better access to care, as of 2021. It also states that over £4.1 million were invested across various initiatives that helped increase women across the globe, choose facility-based deliveries by 26 per cent.
Talking about India, Reckitt started a nutrition programme called Reach Each Child which focused on the first 1,000 days of life for new mothers. This project prioritises adequate nutrition for children within the first 1,000 days of life through locally led initiatives in Maharashtra. As per the 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 the treatment of malnourishment. The programme has also supported 8,000 pregnant women through multiple interventions and helped 91 per cent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding.
Talking about Reckitt’s journey in working with mothers and how the commitment started, Mr Bhatnagar said,
This whole journey started with Mr Devendra Fadnavis, when he was the chief minister of Maharashtra. I went to him with Reckitt’s leadership and promised him with our commitments we will work on the tribal areas like Amravati and Nandurbar districts, the state’s toughest regions.
Explaining the outcomes of the programme, Mr Bhatnagar further said,
With our interventions and initiatives, we have achieved zero deaths because of malnutrition in these regions. What fascinates me the most is that we have around 20 villages where not a single death has happened due to malnutrition. One of the reasons for the achievement is that we had realised long ago the basic formula – when the mothers are healthy, they are able to take care of the kids well.
Talking about the reach of the programme, Mr Bhatnagar added,
We have huge plans on self-care, we plan to reach around 10 million new moms. With our community interventions, we will be able to reach out to 1.5 million moms, by blended approach we will again able to reach 1.5 million moms and digitally we will be able to reach 7 million moms. We have Plan India as one of the key partners, along with this we have strong partnership with the Maharashtra Government. One of the most interesting works we are doing is to reach to moms digitally with momspresso, which is also our partner in this journey.
Highlighting how Reckitt has been able to evaluate if the programmes are working or not, Mr Bhatnagar added,
So, social return on investment is one of the keys for the evaluation, which we use, along with number of lives saved. Our Rs 1 social return on investment is around Rs 37, which is very high.
Talking about the way ahead and how Reckitt will ensure it continues to reach more and more mothers, Mr Bhatnagar added,
We thought year of 2022 and onwards should be the years of transformation, where we should invest heavily. We thought, we should take the programme to the other states and not just Maharashtra with the basics of leaving no one behind. So, this year, we will take the programme towards state of Rajasthan and as well as Gujarat. In Rajasthan, we will primarily work in Jaipur and work with neglected communities like kalbelia tribe. In Gujarat, we are taking the concept to Junagadh and Bhavangadh, where we will work with the Siddi community, they are descendants of East African peoples who were brought in India by Nawab of Junagadh as slaves.
Ravi Bhatnagar signed off and said,
Our aim is to reach out the most neglected communities and upscale their health parameters, imbibe the basics of self-care among the people and improve overall health.
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.