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Pakur Mother and Child Project: how did we do?

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Three years ago HealthBridge and its partner EFICOR launched a program to improve maternal and child health in the Pakur district of India’s Jharkand State.

We adopted four integrated strategies: (1) Building the capacities of community health personnel, (2) Mobilizing the community (3) Using behaviour change communication, and (4) Engaging men and mothers in-law.

What difference did our efforts make?

First, more women received health care along the continuum from pregnancy, to the postpartum period. Most striking was the progress made in mothers receiving skilled birth care in a health clinic, which increased from 30% to 71%.

Improvements were also seen in nutrition practices, with more mothers practising exclusive breast-feeding for the first 5 months, and appropriate complementary feeding from 6-23 months. Unfortunately, in part due to drug shortages, there was no improvement in children receiving immunizations, or oral rehydration therapy for diarrhoea.

Read more in our final project report.

What’s next for Pakur? Funding for our work in the district has ended, but we are hopeful that the capacity that the project helped to build in 600 Village Health Committees and more than 1,800 Community Health Workers will enable communities to continue the momentum.

Importantly, during the project more than 7,000 women, their husbands and mothers-in-law were informed about the health needs of mothers and their children. This increased their desire to seek care outside the home, a development that we hope to see maintained in coming years.