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INTERN SPEAKS

Intern Speaks
As a pandemic situation life became more monotonous and got stuck at a single point. One fine day my friend Ankita found a virtual internship at FMCH India, and I immediately applied as I was interested to learn about community nutrition and how the organization works at the grassroot level.

During my tenure of Internship, I got to know about the field officers, how FMCH was working under this pandemic situation, what preventive measures they take to eradicate malnutrition from the grassroot level in a very holistic way. My biggest learning was about community nutrition, how interventions are done, how to be creative and how to deliver information in a short and simple way in the form of posters and videos.

More than these learnings, FMCH taught me how to be presentable and how to organize everything in life, and most importantly everyone in the organization is so inspiring and the internship program was so good that from sitting right at my place in Kolkata I gained a lot of experience and knowledge of working with FMCH.
I feel extremely blessed to work with this organization and will take all my learnings for my future work.

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INTERN SPEAKS

Intern Speaks
I am Ankita Boral, and have completed my Post Graduation in Dietetics and Nutrition from NSHM College of Management and Technology, Kolkata. I did 2.5 months of internship at FMCH during the lockdown.

I was also given the opportunity to write the experiences of the field officers who have been working in FMCH for years. I felt so amazed when I listened to their stories and experiences, they had working in FMCH. They expressed how FMCH has changed their thoughts and myths around nutrition and taught them about its importance, and how they are now educating families on the importance of nutrition, effects of malnutrition, the importance of breastfeeding, and pregnancy care.

I have learned a lot from FMCH during my experience. Though i have missed the field works and visits still I think whatever FMCH has taught me it will be a lifetime experience.

I wish I could have got more time to work with FMCH and gained more knowledge about community public health.

I am extremely obliged to FMCH for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the organization.

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Supporting healthy growth in infants in low-resource settings in Mumbai, India

The Foundation for Mother and Child Health (FMCH) is a grassroots organisation working in the slums of Mumbai. Resources were targeted to pregnant mothers, infants and young children (aged up to three years) through a ‘1,000 days initiative’. Programming involved active growth monitoring from birth with early and intensive interventions using contextualised nutrition and breastfeeding counselling tools (45 counselling points emphasising ‘cross-cradle hold’), clinic follow-up, home visits and community/peer group support sessions. Innovative technology supported weight monitoring (software), counselling and health-worker training (online videos). Data analysis from a cohort of 286 children followed between 2013 and 2016 found that underweight fell by 47.5%, stunting fell by 18.7% and wasting fell by 16.7% (severe wasting fell by 67.7%) between baseline (average age 2.2 months) and endline (average age 13.9 months). In a cohort of 80 children followed to 25.9 months (average), decreases were recorded in prevalence of underweight (33%); stunting (28.1%) and severe wasting (40%), but wasting increased (by 33.3%). Data from a small cohort of infants (n=51) supported by newly trained government health workers and tracked from birth until the fourth week of life found good average weight-gain rates (37g/kg/d). The experiences indicate that contextualised, targeted, quality counselling focusing on critical moments in the lifecycle is necessary and effective. Close growth monitoring from birth is critical to track progress and inform early action. Training and supervision of the existing health workforce to support service quality is needed and possible in a low-resource, challenging setting.

To read more, please click the link here –
https://www.fmch-india.org/wp-content/uploads/FMCH_ENN.pdf

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NEED ASSESSMENT IN COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19 EPIDEMIC

FMCH conducted a needs assessment in our communities in Jarimari, Kurla and Bhiwandi to understand the needs of the community and to cater to their needs so that we are able to hear from them their needs. Need assessment was done in these communities with the primary goal of identifying the persistent need of the community. Data was obtained by conducting telephonic interviews with FMCH beneficiaries.

Objectives of the Need Assessment:

• To understand the impact, mothers and their families are facing during the COVID-19 crisis
• To assess the need of the community and individual target groups (pregnant, lactating and mother of children) during and post the pandemic to overcome the changing and uncertain situations
Need Assessment questionnaire was designed to measure the discrepancy between current condition and required need of the community in order to plan appropriate intervention strategies as per the need of community.

Categories of question included:

1. Understanding the emotional shift during Lockdown
2. Knowledge of Community/respondent on COVID-19 infectious disease
3. Impact of Nutrition during the lockdown
4. Assess of the community to primary health services
5. Economic condition of the families
6. Expectations and need of the families during and post lockdown
7. Existing resources in terms of help that the families have access to

The results of this assessment showed most significant impact on food security and nutrition support followed by health and basic assistance required in primary health care and on the financial stability of the primary earning member of the family. Lack of employment has affected the purchasing power of essential goods and developed a state of fear and anxiety about financial stability in future. The Key finding of the assessment includes 64% families facing financial complication, 40% families stated an emotional shift towards stress and anxiety in house thereby affecting their mental health and 39% families have food insecurities which has led to major impact on health and nutrition. The most affected target groups in these communities are the pregnant mothers who have limited access to health services for their ante-natal check-ups and hospital delivery. Food and health services specifically to the pregnant mother are the most pressing needs of the community in the current situation.

To read more, please click the link here –
https://www.fmch-india.org/wp-content/uploads/FMCH_Needs-Assessment-During-Covid-19.pdf

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Lea Khandalavala: Internship Experience

Lockdown has forced us all to adapt to using technology more. People have slowly adapted to virtual volunteering and internships as well. Here is an experience from one of our externs from Denmark.

When I found out about the structure of my bachelor in Global Nutrition & Health: that we were required to take two internships, one of the first thoughts that came to mind was FMCH. I thought that FMCH would be just the right place to learn how to apply so many subjects I was learning and was interested in, and see how an organization helps so many people through nutrition. I had been interested in FMCH’s work for many years and thought they were doing some amazing work that I wanted to learn more about.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding lockdown in India, I was unable to come to Mumbai and then visit the FMCH office, the centres and anganwadis where so much work is done. However, I still gained so much from the experience of working with FMCH on the other side of the globe, in Denmark.

I was able to stay connected with the team at FMCH through google hangouts and WhatsApp calls, messages and emails. I read interviews about the field officers’ current experiences and got to understand more about how FMCH was working under the lockdown. My biggest learnings were in my internship were how to be creative regarding teaching ideas with limited resources and space and complementary feeding for babies specific to India and Indian cooking.

Though my experience interning at FMCH was not what I had expected back at the end of 2019, I still feel like I gained so much that I will take away for my future work and also just in my personal life. I feel lucky that I was able to do my internship from so far away and did not have to miss this experience because of the pandemic.

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