Pregnant women in urban slum and rural communities are facing unexpected hardship because of COVID -19.
A difficult question our colleagues in the front line are increasingly facing these days is -
“Amma, if I get infected, can I pass the coronavirus to my unborn baby? Will that lead to my child having problems or deformities in the future? My mother-in-law has suggested that I should terminate my pregnancy.”
Difficulty in accessing reliable information and having to depend on attention grabbing headlines in the media has spread misinformation and consequently led to fear and panic in communities. Most of the women we reach out to are first time pregnant and young.
Unfortunately, the antenatal support provided through Government of India's Janani Sishu Suraksha Karyakram programme in Andhra Pradesh has had to come to a standstill. Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) are closed because of lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The closure has not only meant that services such as routine checkups, educational sessions, peer support and distribution of food has been affected. It has also compounded pregnancy related anxiety. In such circumstances, front line community health workers, that is, ASHA and AWC workers who are from the communities too feel helpless and despondent that they are not able to do more.
Requests for support from ASHA and Anganwadi Workers who are in the frontline of combating the COVID - 19 pandemic in Andhra Pradesh have been pouring in. That is not surprising. They would like to have some basic awareness training on how to support pregnant women in their communities in relation to COVID - 19 and the coronavirus. In response we have developed a training deck, which has been adapted for the local context and translated in Telugu.
Visit our website www.kushalindia.org to have a look at the training deck we have developed. It aims for a one hour session. If you would like to have a copy please contact me through the website and I'll send you a pdf version. Feel free to adapt!