The Umeed project supported by the Mobius Foundation is being implemented in 121 villages of Jarwal block of Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh by the Population Foundation of India and its partner Save A Mother (SAM). It is a three-year project that commenced on April 1, 2023. The project aims to “Improve the health and well-being of women, adolescent girls, and communities through access and provision of family planning (FP) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Jarwal block in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh.”
The key objectives include:
- Increase awareness and demand for family planning and sexual and reproductive health services among the reproductive age group.
- Address sociocultural barriers and norms that hinder the health and well-being of adolescent girls through on-ground and digital Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) campaigns.
- Enable access to reproductive health and family planning services through Swasthya Sammelans.
- Strengthen district and block-level institutional mechanisms to enable regular availability and accessibility to family planning and sexual reproductive health services at the community level.
- Facilitate adoption and scaling up of the model in 5 additional blocks of Bahraich district.
The knowledge management team developed and field-tested a project reporting system (MIS) in September 2023. The field team will fill the MIS and help track progress on the key milestones.
A project reporting system (MIS) was developed and field-tested by the knowledge management team in September 2023. The MIS will be filled out by the field team and will help track progress on the key milestones. The MIS comprises nine tools- (i) village profile; (ii) list of eligible couples; (iii) home visits to eligible couples; (iv) follow up with new contraceptive users; (v) checklist to monitor services at Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Days (VHSNDs); (vi) Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committee (VHSNC) meetings; (vii) school-based activities; (viii) Swasthya Mela; and (ix) District Health Society (DHS) and Block Coordination Committee meetings. The content has been finalised and MIS registers will be printed and distributed in the field by the end of November 2023. Each field facilitator will receive a kit containing the FP flipbook and MIS register for filling out during the field/ home visits.
A family Planning resource kit has been put together and disseminated in the field, which includes the following resources:-
-A set of four comic books and a book with eight short stories covering issues around delaying age at marriage, waiting for first birth, spacing between births, and legal consequences of sex determination developed by the Population Foundation of India.
-Mobius Foundation and Population Foundation of India developed five short films related to family planning NGO and different methods of contraception. These are being screened at the community level through Pico projectors.
-The Family Panning flip book has been developed on all the Family Planning methods. It will be distributed to all the ANMs, ASHAs and community champions to increase awareness and address myths and misconceptions. The flip book was publicly released by Dr. Brijesh Rathore, Director General, Family Welfare, Government of Uttar Pradesh, at the first Swasthya Sammelan on October 27, 2023. Specific training will be conducted for the ANMs and ASHAs on the content and how to use the resource.
Coordination with the state, district and block-level officials is regularly done to seek support, collaborate on community-level activities and address issues related to Family Planning supplies and services. A summary of key meetings and their outcomes are mentioned below:-
State:- Dr Brijesh Rathore, Director General, Family Welfare, Government of Uttar Pradesh. A series of meetings were held with Dr. Rathore and his team to get state-level approval for the project. Dr Amit Singh, Joint Director, Training, Department of Family Welfare, issued an approval letter to the Chief Medical Officer (C.M.O.) on October 12, 2023, for the Umeed project.
District and block administration:- Ms. Monika Rani (I.A.S.), District Magistrate, Bahraich. Briefed Ms Rani on the Umeed project. She has agreed to launch an age-at-marriage campaign in Jarwal block.
Mr. Sathya Prakash Pandey, Block Development Officer, Jarwal. Mr Pandey was oriented on the Umeed project. Specific support was sought to (i) mobilise support of Gram Pradhan’s and other Panchayati Raj Institution (P.R.I.) members for the Swasthya Sammelan; (ii) organise an orientation for the VHSNC members; and (iii) formation of the Block Coordination Committee to enable inter-departmental support and convergence for Family Planning.
Department of Health:- Dr Satish Kumar Singh, Chief Medical Officer (C.M.O.), Bahraich. Briefed Dr Singh on the Umeed project. He agreed to provide all necessary support for the project.
Mr Sarju Khan, District Program Manager, Bahraich. Detailed discussions on the Umeed project were held with Mr Khan. Based on the discussions, the Population Foundation of India and S.A.M. teams have been invited to attend the District Health Society (D.H.S.) meetings.
Dr Kunwar Ritesh, Medical Superintendent (MS), Community Health Centre (C.H.C.), Jarwal. The project area is supervised by Dr Ritesh, who has been providing pro-active support. This includes (i) approval for Population Foundation of India and S.A.M. teams to facilitate training sessions for ASHAs and A.N.M.s on F.P. at the cluster meeting held on a monthly basis in July 2023; and (ii) collaboration to organise the Swasthya Sammelan at the C.H.C. premise in Page 3 of October 18, 2023, wherein F.P. counseling and health check-ups for women, children and adolescents, were provided by the government doctors and nurses.
Mr. Brijesh Singh, District Health Education and Information Officer, Bahraich. Mr Singh was briefed on the SBCC components under the Umeed project. He has agreed to provide support in planning and organising community-level awareness campaigns.
Ms. Soni Jaiswal, Block Community Process Manager, Jarwal. Mr. Ravindra Chaudhary, Adolescent Health Counsellor, Jarwal. Consent has been obtained to mobilise demand and provide feedback on the VHSND sessions in the field. Support has been sought to initiate strengthening engagement of the VHSNCs towards improving awareness and delivery of F.P. services.
Department of Education:- One-on-one meetings were held with principals of government schools and colleges to seek consent to organize activities with the students:- Ms. Tarannum Bano, Principal, Fatima Girls Inter College, Jarwal Town and Mr. Mohd. Ammar Ansari, Principal, Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Inter College, Jarwal Town o Mr. Vinod Kumar Mishra, Principal, Thakur Bhagwati Singh Inter College, Jarwal Road o Mr Sudhir Kumar Singh, Principal, Gayatri
Higher Secondary School, Jarwal Road, Mr Praveen Kumar Srivastav, Principal, R.P.S. Inter College of Dr. Vijaya B Rajput, Principal, Govt. Girls Inter College.
Other stakeholders:- Mr. Jitendra Singh, Block Manager, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Jarwal. Support was sought from Mr Singh to leverage the Self-Help Group (S.H.G.) meetings for messaging on F.P.
Mr. Idrisi, District Organizing Commissioner, Bharat Scouts & Guides (B.S.G.). Mr Idrisi has helped introductions with the principals in three government schools. In addition, Mr Idrisi deputed B.S.G. volunteers to manage the logistics at the Swasthya Sammelan held on October 27, 2023.
Community outreach to promote the adoption of Family Planning:
The field facilitators and officers undertook regular field visits to (a) promote awareness and adoption of family planning services and (b) reach out to adolescents and parents on menstrual health, delaying age at marriage, and continuing education.
– Group sessions among men and women to increase awareness on a basket of contraceptives, including Emergency Contraceptive Pills/ Morning after Pill, addressing myths and misconceptions.
– Home visits, especially among newly married couples, to promote delay in first pregnancy, initiate adoption of F.P. methods, and also to clients who have either dropped out or discontinued.
– Mobilize clients to attend and access services at the VHSNDs, S.H.C.s, and P.H.C.s
– Outreach with adolescents and parents on menstrual health, delaying age at marriage, and continuing education.
Other project activities:
-Attended 36 ANM and ASHA cluster meetings in which sessions were facilitated on FP (18 meetings each in Quarters 1 and 2).
– Organised 1106 women’s group meetings, which had 11898 participants. Among these, 621 meetings were organized in Quarter 1 with 6943 participants and 485 meetings with 4955 participants in Quarter 2.
– Attended and mobilized FP clients in 454 VHSNDs (202 in Quarter 1 and 252 in Quarter 2).
– Facilitated 5 VHSNC meetings (3 in Quarter 1 and 2 in Quarter 2).
– 314 FP champions were identified to promote the adoption and continued use of FP services.
– 217 women attended awareness drives during the Population Fortnight in July, and 41 Shagun Kits were distributed to newly married couples.