Awareness Brings Empowerment
USAID helps Pakistan's mothers and newborns survive and live healthy lives
Basra Bibi, a resident of District D.G. Khan in southern Punjab, is a housewife. She is very happy and thankful, first to God and then to the USAID-funded Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns (PAIMAN) Project, after delivering a healthy baby boy. She has conceived seven times. Her first three babies were healthy. She then had three pregnancies resulting in intrauterine death and miscarriages. After going through these complications, Basra was very much worried about her health in her most recent pregnancy. However, after having attended sensitization and awareness sessions about maternal and newborn health organized by the PAIMAN Project, Basra said "I am satisfied now, as I know how to save my pregnancy by having regular antenatal checkups and taking care of myself and this has empowered me to take my own decisions."
Furthermore, according to her, antenatal checkups, feeding her baby the rich nourishing breast milk that comes in the first few days after delivery and waiting to bathe her baby till one day after birth to avoid chilling him are practices about which she never knew previously. In her words, "Antenatal checkups make us well aware about diseases and complications so we should do regular antenatal checkups for our own and our babies' health."
Basra Bibi went for regular antenatal checkups at the hospital throughout her pregnancy. Her pregnancy remained normal through the whole period and she delivered a healthy baby boy. As suggested to her, she started breastfeeding him within the first hour of birth and waited to give him a bath until the next day.
Basra Bibi is now a representative of the USAID-funded PAIMAN project in her village, spreading mother and newborn health messages to all. She states that earlier there was no custom of having antenatal checkups in her village, but now the other pregnant women of her village are also opting for antenatal checkups as a result of Basra's example.
"I am satisfied now, as I know how to save my pregnancy by having regular antenatal checkups and taking care of myself. This has empowered me to take my own decisions."