Volunteers spread word on ‘hug of life’
LUCKNOW MAHOTSAV Information being shared on Kangaroo Mother Care, skin-to-skin therapy for infants
Volunteers with mannequin babies hugged tightly to their breasts can be seen at Smriti Upvan, Ashiana – the venue of Lucknow Mahotsav. Moving around the venue, they speak to visitors and share a crucial tip with them - on preventing infant mortality. There are many who halt and listen to them.
Part of the stall set up by the National Health Mission (NHM), these volunteers from the ‘Community Empowerment Lab’, a social organisation, are helping spread awareness about Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) – a skin-to-skin therapy for infants.
The three-day drive started on Saturday. “Our volunteers ask people if they know about the ‘hug of life’. Then, they tell them about KMC and how it works as a life saviour for premature babies,” said Arti Sahu of Community Empowerment Lab.
Some of the volunteers are community members who have benefitted from the therapy. “My baby was born pre-term. His life was at risk but I gave him ‘jaadu ki jhappi’ (skin-to-skin hug) for days. Now, he is a healthy child. We didn’t have to put him in an incubator,” said a volunteer participating in the awareness drive at Mahotsav.
“KMC is a technique for creating a womb-like environment for the newborn right after birth. It provides four basic needs of the baby: warmth, food, love and protection. It benefits all newborns significantly, especially those with low birth weight and premature babies. KMC involves three aspects of infant care: skin-toskin contact, exclusive breastfeeding and support to mother and baby. Babies kept in KMC position are found to have better survival chances, reduced illnesses, weight gain and improved overall neurodevelopment,” said Sahu. At the awareness drive at Mahotsav, male volunteers are also displaying the KMC technique to people.
“This is being done because it isn’t just mothers who can give the life-saving hug to the infant. It can also be done by fathers,” said Sahu.
“Often, mothers are exhausted after delivery or experience other complications. At such times they need to be supported to ensure prolonged KMC for the baby,” she added.
Lucknow Mahotsav will go on at Smriti Upvan, Ashiana till December 5.
(Clockwise from above): Community Empowerment Lab volunteers hugging dolls, demonstrating KMC therapy to a visitor, a view of Smriti Upvan on Saturday and (below) women looking through jewellery displayed at a stall.