With an aim to provide high-quality maternal health care in the remote villages of Tamilnadu through technology (IoT devices and telemedicine software), Olivewear made an initial visit to Vembu, to study the possibilities of Project SaveMom in the surrounding villages of Vilathikulam Taluk.
Visit to VEMBU, Vilathikulam
We reached Vilathikulam and met the Assistant Director of VEMBU. VEMBU is a well-known Socio-Cultural Empowerment NGO which is serving around 67 villages of the socio-economic backward regions of Tuticorin District. We met Fr. Anto Varghese SDB, the Assistant Director of VEMBU and their Head Staff Mr. Jeyaseelan. They gave us a brief about the Mission and a history of their initiatives in the region. They listed the number of ongoing projects in multiple sectors like Education, Socio-Cultural Awareness, Women Empowerment, Self-Help groups, Eco-conservation, Child Labour, Integrated Farming, Printing, Job Placement etc.
After a long discussion, VEMBU suggested that we pilot SAVEMOM project at Elanthaikulam-Illakampatti sister villages yet very hostile to one another, which is 10 KMs away from VEMBU Head office. We then drove to the village to meet the people of the village. Our visit was aimed to meet people at Elanthaikulam and get to know the present health practices of the pregnant women. Mr. Jeyaseelan gathered the women and we began our search for pregnant women. Though there were many pregnant women we could meet only two.
A Brief about the Situation of Pregnant Women
We were able to meet two pregnant women in person and observe the condition of a few more during our first unannounced visit to the village on 5 August 2017. Generally, for socio-economic and cultural reasons the women get married before 18 and give birth to one or two children by the time they reach the legal age for marriage. From our interactions with the pregnant women and other married women, we can assume:
They are aware of monthly checkups, yet not very frequently but for some adverse health conditions. But, they have to travel 24 kms every time for the primary checkup.
The Iron and Folic Acid tablets are distributed through NRHS Mobile Medical Care Ambulances and its Staff.
- Lack of awareness about the periodical maternal care
2. Lack of awareness about the best practices of prenatal and postnatal care.
3. Lack of access to quality care in times of emergency or adversity.
Based on the inputs received from VEMBU, Olivewear continues to explore the possibilities of piloting project ‘SaveMom’ at Elanthaikulam and Illakampatti. We would sign an MoU with VEMBU to explore similar possibilities of the likelihood of our work with Amrita Serve at Velarumkunnu.