Blog / Local Superheroes / Against all odds: A heartwarming story of community support and government intervention

Against all odds: A heartwarming story of community support and government intervention

Kadhambari Chintamani
Director, Community Awareness & Strategic Partnerships
Published on May 29, 2024 |

Simple advocacy, timely information sharing, and the support of a committed frontline worker was the magic formula to this success story.

On a recent visit to village Chougawan in Maheshwar block in rural Khargone (MP), the ASHA Didi Farida Bi – she had a fractured leg, nevertheless she still tagged along with us—my colleagues and I visited a home where newborn baby Jay was born with a terrible anomaly. He didn’t have an anus to pass feces. Anjali, the mother, realized at the Community Health Centre (CHC) facility itself that there was a problem, since the baby was feeding well, but not passing stool.

The baby’s stomach was getting considerably swollen, minute by minute. When this was pointed out to the Mandleshwar facility doctor and nurses, they sent the baby with the family to far away Indore city in MP, to the Government run Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital, that could deal with this kind of serious problem – a trans colostomy. The doctor at the hospital there inserted a tube in the colon and declared that the final corrective surgery could only be done once the baby stabilizes, at around 5 months of age. The family would have to visit the M.Y. hospital however, once a month or so, for regular checkups.

Now this is not the kind of typical problem that our Program Officers (POs) face, but Ankit, the young PO, felt passionately that something must be done. Luckily for us, Piyush Bhatt, a senior colleague was travelling with us, and promptly gave us a lesson on how to think through these situations, and how we as TAF colleagues could help in this situation.

While at their home, Piyush Bhatt, fondly called PB by colleagues, asked many seemingly unrelated questions. What eventually came to light were multiple issues.

  • The mother was not getting enough nutrition. She was having only one meal a day.
  • She did not receive the Janani Suraksha Yojana money due to her having had an institutional delivery. She had no clue about its existence.
  • The baby had not been vaccinated. Our first thought was that it should be done immediately. But as PB cautioned us, with the baby’s delicate condition, the Medical Officer at the PHC or CHC should advise us on when it should be given.
  • It was proving to be very expensive for the family to go every month to Indore. It was also unsafe for the baby to travel by bus over such long distances.

Now that the problem became clear, solutions began to emerge. Despite her fractured leg, ASHA didi Farida worked with Ankit to make sure that things got done as quickly as possible.

  • The mother received nutrition packets to supplement her meals.
  • She also got the money due to her under the Janani Suraksha Yojana program. JSY is a centrally sponsored scheme, which integrates cash assistance with delivery and post-delivery care.
  • The baby was vaccinated under the doctor’s supervision.
  • The baby and family were sent through the 108 Ambulance by the Block Medical Officer to the hospital in Indore.

On the 26th of December, the baby and family went to Indore for the baby’s checkup. The baby’s growth is being monitored, so that he is ready for the surgery. We were delighted to learn that baby Jay is on track, his growth is within the expected range, and the doctors are looking forward to a successful surgery.

This heartwarming story was possible because of all the players involved. The ASHA Didi Farida, who despite her fracture, tirelessly works with the community and was quick to learn. Ankit, our newly joined Program Officer, whose passion, and commitment to somehow help made things happen, and finally, our government partners without whose direct intervention none of this would have been possible.

“The best solutions to complex problems often come from those closest to the issues.”