Overcoming Fear and Prioritizing Nutrition: A Community Mobilser’s Journey with Usmana Shaikh


Kirtiratna Kharat is working with Action Against Hunger as a Community Mobiliser (CM). During one of her home visits, she found Usmana Shaikh (name changed), who was 4-months pregnant that time. Her LMP was 28.3.21 and EDD was 4.12.21, but she was not doing her pregnancy registration at any private or municipal hospital or in a nearby health post. When Kirtiratna inquired about this, she said she was not going there out of fear. The CM counselled her that there was no need to be afraid of the corona virus, and one should follow safety measurements like wearing a mask, face shield, washing hands in regular intervals, while visiting hospitals or health posts. In addition, one can wear hand gloves; and if all the all-safety measurements are followed, then no need to be afraid.

The CM advised her to register her name in any hospital as soon as possible. She also talked about ante-natal care, rest and nutrition. In the interaction, the CM felt that she is concerned with the subject of nutrition. The lady gradually opened to the CM and told that she was living in her husband’s home, and she is not comfortable there. She is not eating as per her habits and feels shy to eat. Then the CM asked her about her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law’s behaviour. She said there was no problem from their side. She felt shy because this house was not hers. She felt that at her own home, there is freedom.

The CM was shocked when she heard her story but quickly understood that this was her personal thought, and there was no problem with the in-laws. She started to counsel her again by saying that if she does not eat properly, then her child’s health would be affected. The child may be malnourished and the baby’s weight may be decreased. Growth may be hampered if the child will not get proper nutrition from the mother. She needs to eat the balanced-diet in lunch and dinner, and take medicines like iron, folic acid and calcium tablets and other medicines and supplements as per doctor’s prescription. Finally, she was convinced; and she also agreed to eat properly, so that her child would be healthy.

She promised the CM that she would go to her mother’s home very soon and follow whatever has been suggested to her. Now she has registered her name in the hospital, received a second T.T. injection; furthermore, she is also eating enough.