“We could not understand how critical the baby was. It was the timely intervention of Sahiya didi and MANSI that saved my child’s life.”

Sahiya Sumitra Mahato realized that her role as a community health worker became even more critical during the pandemic. She understood that the training to save the lives of mothers and children, which she had received under AIF’s MANSI will be called upon now more than ever in the remote and impoverished tribal village of Merelgara, West Singbhum, Jharkhand.

Sumitra ensured that Sarita Chatomba, who was expecting her fourth child, received crucial care during her pregnancy. More significantly, she had to counsel Sarita, and her husband and family on the benefits of an institutional delivery and post-natal care. Sarita’s reluctance to take Iron Folic Acid (IFA) tablets led her to becoming anemic, resulting in a premature delivery. Sarita’s fourth child, baby Asish was born weighing only 2,100 grams/4.6 pounds. Classified as a high-risk newborn, Sahiya Sumitra ensured that he received appropriate Home-Based Care (HBC). During a home visit, Sumitra realized that the baby had developed sepsis and guided Sarita and her husband to the nearest health center for immediate medical attention. Timely intervention by Sahiya Sumitra helped save the life of both, the mother and the baby. A shocking 2,200 newborns under the age of five die every day in India.

Two-thirds of these deaths happen within 28 days of the child being born. Most of these deaths are preventable. Designed to reduce maternal and child mortality in inaccessible and indigent areas, AIF’s MANSI, along with the help of ASHAs (community health workers), ensures that pregnant women and newborns receive preventive, promotive, and curative care to survive and thrive. MANSI develops the skills of ASHAs in Home-Based Care (HBC) to strengthen individual and family knowledge about healthy behavior during and after pregnancy.,

As COVID-19 disrupted routine healthcare services, MANSI ensured that pregnant women and newborns received crucial care for their survival, while also providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers and hygiene kits for ASHAs and Anganwadi workers. MANSI also designed an interactive mobile voice response system in certain geographies for ASHAs and Auxiliary Nurse Midwifes (ANMs). This digital connect helped enhance their knowledge of appropriate behavior during COVID-19, helping them serve their communities better. As the pandemic continues, MANSI strives to empower community health workers to save the lives of mothers and children.

Shreya comes with thirteen years of experience in the field of communication, management, business development, marketing and advocacy, across development and private sectors. As a Board Member looking after Communication and Strategy for “Reach Out & Pass It On Foundation”, she has been a proponent of improved access to opportunities in the field of education and livelihood to the under-served communities over the last decade. She has her Masters in English Literature as well as Entrepreneurship Management and has represented her organization among cohorts of Policy and Communications leaders from across the world.

As a Dot Connector, her work experience as a communications and advocacy lead has led her to gainfully collaborate with government bodies and international organizations/entities like USAID, Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom, Atlas Network and WWF, employing a compelling mix of theoretical insights and analytical tools, poised to deliver critical application of communication mediation in the new media ecology.

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