CCA is proud to partner with the charity Every Infant Matters, which was set up to provide last mile health solutions to disadvantaged children in India and Africa.
Co-founder Radhika Batra, who was a keynote speaker at our Pharma Event in Paris last year, shares her experiences of working with families in need and how the charity has adapted to support people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
To find out more, visit www.everyinfantmatters.org
“My tryst with Every Infant Matters began three years ago. I was young resident doctor working as a paediatrician in a busy hospital catering to the poorest of the poor in India.
One day, I was attending to a four-year-old blind child. I was horrified to find that the child was screaming for no reason, hitting and pinching his mother and banging his head on the table. I could see his intense frustration.
On further probing, I found out that the child had lost his vision just a few months ago, and that because of a preventable cause - vitamin A deficiency. It was heart-breaking indeed.
How shameful it was to think that we let children all over the world go blind because we can’t afford to give them nutritious food. Two hundred and fifty million children across the world have vitamin A deficiency because they live with hunger.
Their food consists of a few spoonful’s of poor-quality rice. They never get food items like milk, eggs, or vegetables which are rich in Vitamin A. As a consequence, they can develop irreversible blindness. Every year millions of children become blind because of this reason. They suffer through a lifelong disability, that we could have easily prevented by a simple, timely, cost-effective intervention that would give the gift of sight.
Our flagship programme at Every Infant Matters, is giving two drops of vitamin A to children who are between 0 to 5 years.
Simultaneously we do holistic health education on immunisation, breastfeeding, nutrition, hygiene and handwashing.
We carry out deworming of children and give prenatal vitamins to expectant mothers to improve the nutrition level of both the mother and baby. We work with partners in India, Nigeria and have recently expanded our outreach to Kenya.
So far, we have successfully prevented blindness in 25,000 children in both India and Africa, dewormed 15,000 and given prenatal vitamins to 27,000 expectant mothers. 32,000 families have been counselled on safe mother and child practices.
Since the past few months, the world has been reeling under the onslaught of a deadly virus. Covid-19 has devastated lives, killed thousands, made millions homeless and jobless. In the light of these recent events Every Infant Matters has directed its energy for Covid relief.
Once again, we work in partnerships. Partners are local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), church groups, individuals, families, foundations. We are distributing food, groceries, and non-perishable food items such as masks, soaps and sanitisers, and other essential goods to people who are homeless and jobless.
We are also distributing personal protective equipment, sanitisers and masks to lowly paid hospital staff who can’t afford to pay for these, such as ambulance drivers, housekeeping staff, ward boys, guards and other security personnel, and nursing assistants. This project is entirely funded by the Shri Ram College of Commerce Alumni Association.
Every Infant Matters has achieved a lot, but we surely have miles to go, and thousands to help. The pandemic is here until we get a new vaccine. The world’s economy is crumbling. Jobs are getting scarce. Migrant workers say: “we shall die of hunger not of the virus”.
We are grateful that with help of a strong network of driven, like-minded supporters we have been able to help some of those, who are the worst affected. We thank every person who has supported us in this long and difficult journey. This has been our three-year odyssey in fighting health inequalities, ensuring justice, inclusion and ubiquitous access to healthcare.”
Radhika was featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020 List.
Posted on May 6, 2020
by Edwin Kalischnig