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Maternal Health

[Calcutta Kids’] goals are not only admirable. They are achievable. And, most important, [they are] being achieved every day, thanks to the hard work and determination of this visionary group.

— Susan Stamberg, National Public Radio

The problem

woman in doorway

© Yvan Cohen

Maternal mortality

Despite progress over the last few decades, India still has the second highest number of women who die from childbirth in the world, compared to other countries. Maternal mortality is higher in poorer and less educated communities.

Pregnant women die primarily from these causes:

  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Infection
  • High blood pressure
  • Unsafe abortion
  • Obstructed labor

Maternal morbidity

Pregnant women and mothers suffer from often-preventable illnesses as a result of poor access to prenatal care, unsanitary home deliveries, unsafe abortions, and insufficient nutrition.

Lack of education and self-esteem

In Fakir Bagan, limited education about health and wellness inhibits women’s ability to care for themselves and their families. In addition, many women are plagued by perceptions of low status and feelings that they can’t tackle the challenges that life presents.

Our goals

  • Reduce maternal morbidity and mortality
  • Empower women with knowledge and skills to help themselves and their families thrive

Our actions

The Maternal Health Program provides services and counseling to women during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum.

  • Prenatal care at home and in the clinic
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Referrals to specialty care during pregnancy
  • Education about nutrition, pregnancy, labor, delivery, and newborn care
  • Assistance setting up delivery at the local hospital
  • Patient advocacy during delivery
  • Postpartum care at home and in the clinic
  • Medical case management
  • Community meetings, which offer a safe space in which women can connect with each other and community health workers

This program is successful because of the strong relationships that our community health workers build with beneficiaries and their families. When a woman joins the program, she understands that the support she receives from Calcutta Kids is not fleeting or transactional — rather, it’s a long-term partnership and joint commitment to her family’s health and well-being.