Barefoot College resident, SBI Fellow Dr. Monalisa Padhee says
“To break the inter-generational cycle of poor health, I decided to target women before and around the time of conception, as they are the most crucial stages for embryogenesis, organogenesis, and foetal development,”
She is working in four Rajasthani villages, where she claims to notice a high prevalence of undernourishment in women and girls, manifesting in particular as anaemia (lack of iron). Despite the government’s measures to curb cycles of poor health, she observed them to be non-existent to be in these regions of Rajasthan. Barefoot college is doing incredible work in curing Anaemia among women.
Amritchurna – The Life-Changing Solution
The health team of barefoot college conducted basic diagnostic tests for nearly 200 girls and women to identify haemoglobin levels. She sought for a local product that could alleviate anaemia levels and found a solution, and a pretty organic one at that – Amritchurna- a well-balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, magnesium, and iron. With the help of Barefoot’s health coordinators, Meghrajji and Mangilalji, the team mobilized the community to uncover the necessary proportions of this indigenous product made of wheat, black gram, groundnut, sesame seed, and jaggery. This medicine was made and distributed at ₹30 a unit to over 100 women and children who were anaemic.
Barefoot claimed that after consumption of Amritchurna for four months, many of the girls and women who were anaemic saw increases in their haemoglobin levels by 2-3 gm./dL. Most physicians agree that a woman’s natural haemoglobin level is between 12-14 gm./dL. Their team also helps in maintaining the intake of Amritchurna among all the women and children who are anaemic and who need it.
Dr. Padhee believes that addressing patients’ needs should improve their individual health, and also empower them with resources and knowledge. To further complement the remedy, awareness sessions on the prevalence of iron deficiency were also conducted to discuss why girls and women, in general, are more vulnerable to this deficiency, as well as what this can mean to their long-term health.
The project has led to a highly focussed plan on targeted continuous care, right from adolescence to lactation and beyond, in order to achieve a progressive increase in the health status of the country.
Barefoot college is an International voluntary organisation working in the fields of education, skill development, health, drinking water, women empowerment and electrification through solar power for the upliftment of rural people, which was founded by Bunker Roy in 1972. It now operates in 1,300 villages in 80 countries worldwide.