Engendering Health Behaviour Change

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This is the story of how a mother-in-law brought about a behavioural change regarding health practice among her family members in Sarawan village in Tarabganj block of Gonda district in UP. The state performs poorly in terms of maternal and child health indicators, child feeding practices and nutritional status of children. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding for children under six months of age is merely 43.1 per cent.

Rampati, a 55-year-old woman member of an SHG in Sarawan recalls the pain of losing a grandchild two years ago due to carelessness and ignorance about the threat and susceptibility of a child to infection from water-borne diseases and the importance of exclusively breastfeeding the new-born. She has, in turn, become the decision maker concerning the weaning practices followed by her daughter-in-law for the good health of her new-born child.

Through SHG meetings and facilitated discussions on maternal and neonatal health care practices, Rampati garnered knowledge about the best practices of breastfeeding, such as correct positioning of the nipple and the babyís mouth, early initiation of breastfeeding, Kangaroo Mother Care and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. When her daughter-in-law delivered her baby, Rampati insisted on early initiation of breastfeeding and made sure that the child was not given any liquids apart from motherís breast milk till six months of age. The baby is now over six months old and is healthy, weighing about 5 kilogram.