LUCKNOW, India, 03 October 2018 - Pushpa Bharti, a graduate, has been an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) in Lalnagar Kheda village in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh since 2006. Her early days as an ASHA were not easy. It was very difficult to make people understand the importance of accessing health facilities and taking pregnant women to institutions for delivery.
But Pushpa did not give up. Her constant efforts and dedication slowly won the confidence of her community. Now Pushpa is the first person they contact when they need any advice for health-related problems.
After being trained in Home-Based Newborn Care (HBNC), Pushpa realized how crucial the initial 28 days were for a newborn. She learned that she could save the lives of newborn babies through her home visits. Now, she ensures that she visits the families with newborns six to seven times in the first month and carefully checks the babies. If the newborn is underweight, she pays extra attention and makes more frequent visits.
Baby Tanu owes her life to Pushpa. Born underweight at 2 kilograms, she was visited daily by Pushpa, who ensured that the tiny baby survived. Pushpa advised Tanu’s mother Sangeeta about Kangaroo Mother Care. Pushpa would also make sure that the baby was properly breastfed and attention was paid towards maintaining adequate hygiene.
Pushpa’s efforts led to Tanu gaining weight within 14 days of birth. The baby was given a proper diet and her immunization was done on time. Born in February 2018, Tanu is a healthy child now. “We are so grateful to Pushpa didi for saving my little girl. We followed whatever she told us during her visits, which helped us a lot,” says Tanu’s mother, Sangeeta.
For Pushpa Bharati, saving lives is what she is passionate about. She along with approximately 1.5 million ASHAs across Uttar Pradesh work hard every day to save the lives of countless mothers and children.