Palghar district today is facing a severe nutrition crisis. The number of child deaths due to malnutrition increased exponentially in recent time. The dire poverty in the region, together with a lack of awareness of good nutrition practices and the signs of malnutrition made Palghar one of the most vulnerable areas of Maharashtra. During monsoon, the villages remain unapproachable for vehicles. Some of the villages do not have electricity. As most of the terrain is hilly; cultivable land is limited. Agriculture here depends only on rain water as there are hardly any facilities for irrigation. This forces most of the farmers to grow only one crop per year. Some of the farmers end up migrating to cities for labor work to feed their families back home. Child marriage is one of the most common reasons for malnutrition. Pregnant women of age 13 to 16 years are common in the area. Every second child here is suffering from malnutrition. Inadequate sanitation, unsafe drinking water supply and poor personal hygiene lead to malnutrition among majority of children in the area.
Yuva Mitra started working in the area to build resilient ecosystem against Malnutrition by contributing to the reduction of mortality and morbidity associated with acute malnutrition of children, pregnant/lactating women by screening, admitting and referring moderate malnourished children and pregnant/lactating women, improving promotive, preventive and curative health and nutrition behaviours of target community and increasing access to use of health, hygiene and sanitation services.
Awareness generation through monthly meetings of pregnant/lactating women, life skill development trainings for adolescent girls, health fairs, empowering village governance for health monitoring, advocacy and handholding with likeminded organizations has changing the mindset of people regarding malnutrition and some of the social evils leading to malnutrition.
Various activities like monthly vaccination program for children as well as pregnant and lactating mothers, assistance of emergency health care and support at village level, supporting and complementing clinical outreach service, establishing suitable mechanisms of referral are conducted to achieve desired goal, objectives and expected outcomes. Promotion of kitchen gardens and backyard poultry has ensured nutritious food at lower cost and livelihood support for the families.
The project covers 10 villages and 18 Padas of Jawhar taluka of Palghar District covering 2565 tribal families.