Project Suraksha – reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality

This is a story of the transformation of old practices and traditional methods through awareness and advocacy.

Mrs. Afshana Ansari* has a big family – 4 sons, 4 daughters-in-law and 10 grandchildren – happily living in the same house in Millat Nagar, Bhiwandi. All children born in Afshana’s house home delivered with the help of local midwives.

Rabia one of the outreach workers from Project Suraksha – launched by Cognizant Foundation in partnership with Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT) – paid Afshana a visit one day. Rabia got to know that one of Afshana’s daughters-in-law was expecting to deliver a baby soon. Afshana had planned for the baby to be delivered by the local midwife, just like it had been for her other grandchildren.

Rabia sensitised Afshana about differences in deliveries conducted at home and the hospital, advantages of hospital delivery and the safety of mother and child. She also taught about nutrition and food for neonatal and ante-natal care, iron-folic acid tablets and immunisation. Repeated visits and sustained connect by Rabi created a positive impression on Afshana. Rabia gave satisfactory answers to all her doubts and reservations about hospital deliveries.

Soon it was time for the baby to be born. Afshana broke with tradition and arranged for the child’s delivery at the local hospital with proper medical care. Both mother and child are safe and healthy. Afshana daughter-in-law is receiving necessary post-natal care. Her grandchild received necessary immunisation after birth and is registered for further immunisation as per the schedule.

Afshana greeted Rabia with a smiling face, very satisfied with the hospital delivery. She also informed that she was now creating awareness in her community about institutional delivery, ante-natal and post-natal care.

This story is an example of the many women, children and families who benefit from Project Suraksha – an initiative by Cognizant Foundation in partnership with Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT), Mumbai – to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in Bhiwandi and Malegaon, Maharashtra. This is a five-year project launched in 2020. The project raises awareness on the importance of ante-natal care (ANC), post-natal care (PNC) and improves access to information. It facilitates communication and transportation for pregnant women and lactating mothers. It enables continual medical care, immunization and micro-nutrient supplements to high-risk pregnant women and lactating mothers throughout the entirety of their pregnancy and children 0-2 years of age. The project registers ANC and PNC mothers and screens high-risk ANC and PNC women and children 0-2 years of age providing them with continued care. The project plans to reach a total of 94,000+ ANC and PNC mothers and 12,780+ high-risk women and children.

* Name changed to protect patient privacy