Project Vishwaas: Delivers a Breath of Hope to Two-Year Old Aditya

Pushpa Devi, from Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district, dotes on her four children. Her family means everything to her. Jokhan Maurya, her husband, earns his living by doing labour work. Apart from his children and wife, his brother and father also depend on his meagre income. Pushpa’s strong superstitious beliefs have come in the way of her children’s health. She easily falls prey to charlatans and indulges in superstitious practices to treat any ailment. There have been instances where she has turned to exorcism rituals. As a result, her children have been deprived of proper health services and government schemes.

On March 16, 2021, a team from Save the Children had visited Pushpa’s house. They found her two-year-old son Aditya showing respiratory distress. They immediately advised Pushpa to rush him to the nearest health centre as they feared Aditya might be suffering from pneumonia. Pushpa was very reluctant to seek medical treatment and told the team that she would rub hot oil on Aditya’s chest and which would help him recover quickly. Pushpa was unaware that pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide, with India accounting for 20% of those deaths.

According to the World Health Organization, in 2019, 740180 children under the age of five died from pneumonia, 14% of all deaths of children under five years old.

To reduce mortality due to pneumonia specific in under-five children, Save the Children launched Project Vishwaas in Bahraich district. Through Social Behaviour Communication tools developed under the project, Pushpa was made aware of the signs and symptoms of pneumonia. She was also educated on preventive measures and treatment. With this information, Pushpa made sure her son got proper treatment. Today, Aditya is a happy and healthy child.

‘Project Vishwaas (Breath of Hope)’ was launched to bring high-quality pneumonia care to approximately 90,000 under-five children across 45 urban wards in Rajasthan and two rural blocks in Uttar Pradesh, the five states with the highest burden of pneumonia in India. The program focussed on social behaviour change among the community and addressed the infrastructural and resource gaps in local health centres in the two states.

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