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Tata Steel Foundation ensures healthcare access for expectant mothers

Kalinganagar , May 07, 2020

While the world is gradually coming to terms with​the novel coronavirus, there are still many uncertainties. This is contributing to the anxiety of expectant mothers. In this context, the ​Tata Steel Foundation (TSF) has taken the initiative to provide support to pregnant women  in the villages adjacent to Kalinganagar.

The local unit of TSF has prepared an action plan​ ​to identify and ​provide solutions to the​ various problems faced by the expectant mothers ​during the lockdown period in the ​Sukinda and Danagadi blocks. With the help of​Accredited Social Health Activists ​(​ASHA)​, a database of expectant mothers in the area has been created. Along with the team, continuous tracking is being carried out to ensure that issues before and after delivery are taken care of.

Babita Mohanta, an expectant mother residing at Salijanga Gram Panchayat, says: ​“I was in pain and it was getting worse. I realised that I needed to urgently see a doctor. I contacted the local ASHA​Didi and she, along with the Tata Steel's Corporate Social Responsibility team, arranged an ambulance for me.”

A​part from ​creating awareness and disseminating information to dispel doubts and fears, efforts are being made to​ improve communication between health providers and pregnant women. This has helped increase the likelihood of positive outcomes. Daily follow-ups between ASHA workers and the expectant mothers are being conducted by the Health Team of TSF. Steps are also being taken to prepare expectant mothers for the delivery a week before the expected date.

` Jaymani Hansdah, a 29-year old ASHA worker from Salijanga Gram Panchayat working with the TSF’s Health Team, says: ​“​Most people were initially apprehensive about how to deal with the situation. We went door-to-door and created awareness and emphasised on the need to not panic. A week before delivery, we keep ourselves ready by alerting the Hospital and Ambulance.​”

A​p​art from this, regular interactions with doctors are being facilitated through video and phone calls. TSF’s​In-house doctors are coordinating with doctors of the local Community Health Centre (CHC) and sharing the history of the patients to ensure proper treatment and care for them. ​Regular interactions are organised post-delivery to ensure that vaccinations are given to newborns on time. Since the lockdown due to COVID-19, TSF has been able to facilitate safe deliveries for 24 pregnant women. There remain approximately 88 expectant mothers who have been identified for delivery by end-May.

“​Amid this pandemic, there are families who are welcoming babies. However, due to the very nature of the virus, it is imperative that everyone who is dealing with an expectant mother is aware of the basic dos and don’ts. W​e are tracking ladies​who are in advanced stage of pregnancy during the lockdown as they are at a higher risk. ​Tracking of expectant mothers is helping us in taking preventive measures, detect risks in a timely fashion, reduce complications and address health inequalities.” said Mr Allen Jose​p​h, Head of the CSR Unit of Tata Steel, Kalinganagar.