Vol­un­teers spread word on ‘hug of life’

LUC­KNOW MA­HOT­SAV In­for­ma­tion be­ing shared on Kan­ga­roo Mother Care, skin-to-skin ther­apy for in­fants

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - LUCKNOW - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

HT PHO­TOS

(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.

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