Palghar district had been grappling with a severe nutrition crisis, particularly affecting vulnerable children. The rise in child malnutrition-related deaths had raised alarms in recent times. This crisis was exacerbated by the region’s dire poverty, a lack of awareness about good nutrition practices, and limited access to healthcare. The area’s challenging terrain, characterized by hills and rain-dependent agriculture, left farmers with no choice but to rely on a single annual crop. Many were forced to migrate for labor work, leaving their families behind.

Child marriage remained common, and inadequate sanitation, unsafe drinking water, and poor personal hygiene further contributed to malnutrition among children. In this context, Yuva Mitra took proactive steps to build a resilient ecosystem against malnutrition in Palghar.

Empowering the Community: Yuva Mitra’s approach focused on reducing mortality and morbidity associated with acute malnutrition among children and pregnant/lactating women. This involved screening, admitting, and referring moderately malnourished individuals while improving health and nutrition behaviors within the community.

Raising Awareness: The organization conducted monthly meetings for pregnant and lactating women, imparted life skills to adolescent girls, and hosted health fairs. Empowering village governance for health monitoring and advocacy led to a shift in mindset regarding malnutrition and its underlying causes.

Health and Nutrition Initiatives: Yuva Mitra facilitated monthly vaccination programs, provided emergency healthcare support at the village level, and established mechanisms for referrals. Promoting kitchen gardens and backyard poultry not only ensured nutritious food at a lower cost but also supported livelihoods.

A Commitment to Fundamental Rights: Yuva Mitra firmly believed in access to basic healthcare and education as fundamental human rights. In partnership with like minded organizations, the organization implemented numerous projects to improve the health and education status of children, resulting in tangible progress in health, hygiene, sanitation, and knowledge.

Having successfully completed the project in 2022, Yuva Mitra had operated in 11 villages and 19 Padas of Jawhar block in Palghar district, collaborating with 2565 families to empower them and combat malnourishment. The focus areas included:

– Screening, admitting, and referring moderately malnourished children and pregnant/lactating women.
– Enhancing preventive, primitive, and curative health and nutrition behaviors.
– Increasing access to healthcare services for children and their families.
– Strengthening the capacity of local healthcare providers.
– Reducing mortality and morbidity associated with acute malnutrition.

Areas of Intervention: Yuva Mitra’s multifaceted approach included awareness generation through health fairs, the promotion of good health practices, advocating for kitchen gardens, ensuring 100% vaccination, and establishing suitable referral mechanisms. Additionally, life skill development for adolescents, emergency healthcare support, and monitoring and tracking of malnourished individuals played pivotal roles in the program’s success.

Through Arogya Mitra, Yuva Mitra had successfully built a resilient ecosystem that combated malnutrition and ensured a healthier, brighter future for Palghar’s communities.


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