Pushpa Devi, from Uttar Pradesh's Bahraich district, dotes on her four children. Her family means everything to her. Jokhan Maurya, her husband, earns his living by doing labour work. Apart from his children and wife, his brother and father also depend on his income which is meagre. Pushpa's strong superstitious beliefs have come in the way of her children's health. She easily falls prey to charlatans and indulges in superstitious practices to treat any ailment. There have been instances where she has turned to exorcism rituals. As a result, her children have been deprived of proper health services and government schemes.
On March 16, 2021, a team from Save the Children visited Pushpa's house. They found her two-year-old son Aditya showing respiratory distress. They immediately advised Pushpa to rush him to the nearest health centre as they feared Aditya might be suffering from pneumonia. Pushpa was very reluctant to seek medical treatment and told the team that she will rub hot oil on Aditya's chest and he will recover quickly. Pushpa did not know that pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide with India accounting for 20% of those deaths.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2019, 740 180 children under the age of 5 died from pneumonia, which is 14% of all deaths of children under five years old. With the goal to reduce mortality due to pneumonia specific to under five children, Save the Children launched Project Vishwaas in Bahraich district. By using Social Behaviour Communication Tools developed under the project, Pushpa was made aware of the signs and symptoms of pneumonia. She was also educated on preventive measures and treatment. With this information, Pushpa made sure her son got proper treatment. Today, Aditya is a happy and healthy child.
'Project Vishwaas (Breath of Hope)' was launched to bring high-quality pneumonia care to approximately 90,000 under five children across 45 urban wards in Rajasthan, and two rural blocks in Uttar Pradesh — two of the five states with the highest burden of pneumonia in India. The program focussed on social behaviour change among the community and also addressed the infrastructural and resource gaps in local health centres in the two states.
Take the case of Chakrapadi Shukla, from Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh. He was trained under Save the Children's Project Vishwaas, as part of which he was made aware of pneumonia and its risks. When his 16-month-old son started suffering from fever and shortness of breath, Chakrapadi knew it was pneumonia and sought immediate medical attention. His son recovered in 4-5 days.
"Save the Children educated me on pneumonia, how to identify the disease and what kind of treatment to seek. I am neither a doctor nor a health worker but thanks to this training, I was able to save my son's life," said Chakrapadi Shukla, father of Aarush.
Also Read: 40% Northeast Students Lacked Digital Education Tools During COVID: National Achievement Survey 2021