With more than 200 million people, Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state. It accounts for one-quarter of India’s total newborn deaths and 8 percent of those worldwide. In early 2013, Embrace launched a rapidly growing program in Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli District, located in the heart of the Awadh region. Over 90 percent of people in the district live in rural areas, and many mothers give birth at home and struggle to care for their low birth weight and premature infants.
In partnership with the Raebareli District Government and the NGO Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana, Embrace serves 13 community health centers (CHCs) and the Raebareli District Hospital. In addition to donating infant warmers and providing side-by-side training in hypothermia interventions such as Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin contact), local Embrace staff help Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers to improve community-based health awareness and education.
Embrace has reached over 2,300 low birth weight and premature infants in Raebareli– including little Janaki. Janaki’s parents, Kareena and Rahul, live in a small agricultural village in the district. They were encouraged by Maya, a local ASHA worker, to seek medical attention at the Khiro CHC, about 5 km from their home. Maya first told Kareena that hypothermia could be a concern for newborn babies, particularly those who are born too small. She encouraged Kareena to practice Kangaroo Care and spoke with her about the Embrace warmer.
Janaki was born at the Khiro CHC, and developed moderate hypothermia (temperature between 32°C –35.9°C). Having spoken with Maya, Kareena knew to ask the nurses about Embrace and to keep Janaki in the warmer until the baby’s temperature stabilized. Embrace works with ASHAs and other community health workers to help mothers like Maya to care for their vulnerable newborn infants.