Every Infant Matters has leveraged our strengths and presence at grassroot level to provide succour from the dreaded COVID-19 in these difficult times.
Our COVID-19 response is directed towards 2 groups of people. First are those who are hungry and homeless. The second is health personnel, those who are in the front lines of fighting COVID-19 and must be protected. Our work is in India, Kenya, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic, as follows:
1. We began our work in India in February 2020 by serving the most vulnerable sections of society. These were hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Migrant labourers and daily wagers in cities had lost their jobs. Men, women, children, hungry and thirsty and tired and exhausted, are on long marches on foot, trying to reach their native villages. We delivered essential items to these people, such as face masks, sanitisers, soaps, food and grocery kits. We distributed food and groceries to migrant workers and homeless people in 3 states of India: Delhi, UP and Assam. In Delhi we have distributed in government run shelters for the homeless. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, we served the Musahar tribals in Benaras. We distributed groceries to these people who are the poorest of the poor. They are called Musahar as they live in such poverty that they are forced to eat rats. Total 2020 people given groceries sufficient to feed them for a month,
2. We are supporting police personnel by distributing 200 face shields and 100 sanitisers in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, and to police personnel in New Delhi.
3. Distribution of Deworming tablets Albendazole, Vitamin A and prenatal vitamins in a medical camp for 350 migrant workers in New Delhi.
4. We distributed 500 Masks and 500 sanitisers to Churu Rajasthan, for distribution in slums
5. We gave Prenatal vitamins to COVID-19 Positive pregnant women in government hospitals, Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi to build their immunity.
6. We have distributed masks, sanitisers and soaps to jobless people and domestic workers lining in the remotest part of North East India. This is in partnership with a local organization dedicated to the service of marginalized communities, especially women, girls and children, from Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Orissa and Tripura. We supplied bales of cloth to the nuns for stitching masks for domestic workers.
7. We have sent 50 PPEs, 50 N 95 masks and 50 waterproof shoe covers to 4 Covid-19 quarantine centers run by local grassroot organisations in remote, North East India. These are :Singngat Youth Club, Simte Youth Organisation, United Zou Organisation, And Hlanghoi Veng Youth Club.
8. We have carried out distribution of essential protective equipment in 5 states of India, government and private hospitals and Medical Colleges. These are given to doctors, nurse and low paid hospital staff like ward boys, technicians, ambulance drivers, sanitary and housekeeping staff.
We have distributed the following:
We have partnered with the Indian Medical Association Junior Doctors’ Network, to identify needs among doctors and nurses so that distribution can be done directly health staff. This partnerships saves time and resources as targeted distribution is carried out directly when and where there is a need. We have sent PPEs to the following hospitals directly, bypassing red tape and ensuring results and outcomes.
Last week we supplied sanitisers to cleaning and housekeeping staff of Lucknow University, UP, India.
Hundreds of thousands of men women and children went hungry and thirsty in the exodus of migrant labourers from delhi to nearby states. They lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 scare. they are daily wagers, construction workers, errand boys, tea stall workers and so on, a huge army of informal workers whose lives and jobs and wages are totally disorganised. We are providing groceries for several families for a whole month for each family. each relief pack has 20 kg of flour, 20 kg rice, lentils, oil, salt and spices.
Men women children, hungry and thirsty and tired and exhausted, are on long marches on foot, trying to reach their native villages. Most are labourers or other daily wagers who have lost their jobs. Chaotic scenes everywhere. Every Infant Matters raising funds to provide food and groceries and water.
We work in partnership with CDI, Centre for Development Initiative, based out of Gawhati, Assam. This is the development wing of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), an organization dedicated to the service of marginalized communities, especially women, girls and children, from Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Maharastra, Nagaland, Orissa and Tripura. A pharmaceutical supplier is arranging these commodities for us at highly subsidised rates. We have sent soaps and masks, and bales of cloth to the Nuns who are sewing 30,000 masks for domestic workers and their children
We are distributing masks and soaps and hand sanitisers to homeless people, especially children, who are malnourished and vulnerable. They live in unhygienic conditions and survive on meagre scraps of food. Even though the disease progression in children is mild, they may pass on the virus to others who fall in the high risk category. This small step taken in the right direction may help flatten the curve. We have partnered with a local NGO called Donate a Meal, this has shelters, free meals and distribution drives for homeless people. A pharmaceutical supplier is arranging these commodities for us at highly subsidised rates.
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In Nigeria- Mr Effiok is the Founder of Jeksume Foundation, a partner of Every Infant Matters. Jeksume is a Humanitarian Service Organisation that is involved in free distribution of food supplements in Nigeria to vulnerable women and children.
Jeksume is carrying Covid-19 awareness amongst slum dwellers by carrying out educational and health camps in Calabar and Cross River states. We are imparting key messages of social distancing and wearing masks to thousands of slum dwellers, and have given Vitamin A and Albendazole and prenatal vitamins to children and pregnant women to build their immunity in the pandemic. We have also given food and grocery kits, liquid soap, face masks and sanitisers. Many of these projects are with support from the One Young World, UK, and other donors, who funded the purchase of the above items.
Mr. Ekpeyong Ekpeyong Effiok, Director Partnerships Africa for Every Infant Matters, realises the need for rapid scale up in the Continent, and has built 2 new partnerships within Nigeria.
1. CCCRN: He has sealed a collaboration with CCCRN, the Center for Clinical Care & Clinical Research in Nigeria, Cross River State Branch, which is promoting best practices in health care delivery, medical training and research using locally-adapted models of health systems strengthening.
2. Youth Wing of the Nigerian Red Cross, Cross River State Branch, which is part of the International Committee of the Red Cross . We believe this will link us to ICRC to emergency situation anywhere in Africa
LEADING NEWSPAPER OF NIGERIA WRITES ABOUT 100,000 VOLUNTEERS: Jeksume Foundation is now recruiting 100,000 youths online to provide community health at the last mile by effectively cover all the polling units in the country.
Our local partner Jihusishi is distributing sanitary pads to teenage girls to prevent them from being sexually exploited by predators. Poor vulnerable girls choose voluntarily to opt for transactional sex to acquire these products. Covid 19 crisis has highlighted an increase in number of pregnancies in girls in Mukuru and Kibra slums in Nairobi county, Kenya. Kibra is one of the largest slums in Africa having a population of over 170,000, while Mukuru has 500,000 population. Access to menstrual hygiene products is a major challenge facing women and girls. Lack of access to menstrual hygiene products mean that women and girls have considerable difficulty in going about their lives during menstruation. There is an unacceptably high rate of teenage pregnancies and septic abortions. Many of these projects are with support from the One Young World, UK, and other donors, who funded the purchase of the above items.
We are creating awareness amongst slums dwellers on Mukuru slums in Nairobi to prevent the spread of the contagion. 103 families have been given maize flour, soaps, and salt, masks, sanitary napkins. Brian has conducted a similar camp for 300 vulnerable families in Kibra, the largest slum in Kenya and second largest in Africa. Kibra families have a huge co-morbidity and are at high risk for COVID -19 due to malnutrition, diabetes, HIV, homelessness and unemployment.
Our local partners Fumebo are working tirelessly in the COVID 19 crisis to stave off hunger and protect all from the disease. Their focus is both on underserved and marginalized communities, as well as health personnel who are in the frontlines fighting Covid.
1. Distribution to underserved communities:
They have given out 1167 food bags, each containing a bottle of hand saniziter, 400 masks, 30 boxes of gloves, and 1160 hand sanitizer.
2. Distribution to medical personnel- given 1650 face masks, 640 N 95 masks, 100 boxes of gloves, 300 face shields, 170 protective goggles, 220 disposable gowns. These have been sent to a rural hospital in the southern Dominican Republic
With health systems non existent in remote parts of the world, it is the nuns and Church groups who carry out mother and child care. Dedicated doctors who are part of Every Infant Matters are carrying out training of nuns and nurses in safe motherhood, and educating those who are doing mother and child care among the poorest of the poor living in remote areas, in countries such as India, Italy, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Sudan, South Africa (Johannesburg), Mozambique, Ethiopia, the Hawaiian islands in the US, Germany, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
We partner with the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC) to provide the nuns with the necessary skills and expertise to assist them in serving a large community of the society efficiently and effectively. This is done by the way of training sessions that are held every week where we aim at acquainting them with factual information, hence, dispelling any myths or false data. Some of the sessions we have conducted addressed the general concepts related to pregnancy and the complications involved in the labour process. And with the spread of Coronavirus, we have introduced training sessions solely dedicated to helping the sisters understand the Covid-19 Infection Control policies. A community of doctors and the nurses have also been created via a Whatsapp Group where the nurses can post their queries with regards to certain aspects of a given medical process or emergency and the doctors provide them with the answers in almost no time. Such virtual assistance and networking ensure that the primary objective of EIM, as well as MSMHC is accomplished, i.e. to create a world with better accessibility to medical care and health-care services and facilities.
About MSMHC:The Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MSMHC), has 216 Centres with sisters working in 61 dioceses of India, Italy, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Sudan, South Africa (Johannesburg), Mozambique, Ethiopia, the Hawaiian islands in the US, Germany, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea (PNG). The Congregation is blessed with members belonging to 75 ethnic groups from India, Myanmar, Nepal, Hawaii, and Lesotho numbering 1300 members.
We have had a great impact in India, Kenya and Nigeria. In India we work in 5 states, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Mizoram and the North East. In Nigeria we work in Calabar, Calabar Municipality LGA, Calabar South LGA, and Ekori community in Yakurr LGA in Cross River State.
1. Blindness Prevention: More than 25,120 children have been given Vitamin A to save them from going blind. These are children from India and Nigeria, in slums, villages, orphanages, street children, and those living in shanties at construction sites.
1.4 million children worldwide go blind, the commonest cause being Vitamin A deficiency. In India, there are about 320,000 blind children. This is more than any other country in the world. Preventing blindness in children is a priority since it can affect their development, mobility, education and employment opportunities. These are children who live on a handful of rice daily, and have never seen milk, eggs and butter
2. Deworming: 21,215 children have been given deworming tablets to treating worm infestation, thus improve health and nutritional status. Treating worm infestation improves nutritional status, as it prevents loss of nutrients from the body, prevents micronutrient deficiencies, and ensures that children retain adequate nutrients to support their mental and physical development.
3. Prenatal Vitamins to Disadvantaged Mothers :These will improve nutrition for both the mother and the child. We started a pilot with 500 pregnant women. We have now served 27500 women in India and in Nigeria, each has been given a bottle containing 180 tablets of high quality vitamins. This project will go to scale in 2020 to serve 40,000 women
4. Holistic health care: More than 32,000 disadvantaged families educated on breast feeding, immunisation, hygiene, hand washing techniques. We take care of gender issues and encourage families to do so. We dispel harmful life-threatening myths, such as: applying cow-dung on the umbilical cord, cessation of feeding when a child has diarrhoea or vomiting, giving diluted milk to neonates, going to witch-doctors who burn children with hot iron to ‘cure’ diseases, etc.
5. Promoting gender equality: There is great injustice meted out to women and girls. The girl child is neglected when it comes to health and education. Girls are given less food than boys. Boys get lentils and vegetables; girls get rice. Female feticide has been rampant for a long time.. All this left a lasting impression and motivated us to work for gender equality, especially in the field of health. Providing the gift of sight is the first step towards women’s independence. Women are denied opportunities, and the situation is much worse if she is blind. A girl who has the gift of sight gets education, jobs, entrepreneurship and leadership opportunities.
6. Preventing stigma and discrimination to those with Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDs or blindness
Carrying out our core programs during the pandemic to build immunity:
Dr Alka Agrawal,MD, Head of the Department of Pediatrics and world renowned pediatrician at Santosh Medical College Ghaziabad, explains why Every Infant Matters must carry out its projects during the COVID -19 pandemic:
"Why is Vitamin A important? Why is deworming important? Why do I support Every Infant Matters ? The reason is that these are simple vital cost effective steps to build immunity, thus minimising the spread of contagion. "
Meanwhile, we continue our work in the following 4 countries, across 3 continents:
Every Infant matters has been implementing its projects both directly or through health camps held in partnership with other NGOs, physicians, and charitable organisations:
1. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has carried out blindness prevention and womens health camps in Lucknow, UP, India in November 2019. Camps were organised by Dr Rukhsana Khan, I am past President IMA lucknow, .past vice president IMA, UP, India, Presently UP Chair Person WDW (Multispeciality Female Wing) sister concern of IMA. These camps were attended by women and children from slums of central lucknow as well as its suburban villages. Dr Khan accompanied by a team of doctors volunteered their time for this.
2. DEACON EKPENYONG EFFIOK, FOUNDER & CEO, JEKSUME RESOURCES NIGERIA, CALABAR : This organisation has carried out a series of health camps in Nigeria, in Ikot Ansa Primary Health Care center, and Diamond hill primary health care centre., Nigeria, attended by several thousand women and children. the camps were hedl between September 2019-November 2019. More than 100 volunteers were in preparation for the training by Vitamin Angels. Children and women came directly to the camps, others were are approached by volunteers from their work, farms, markets and schools for the children, and where members of any organisation are gathering, such as in churches, mosques etc.
Prenatal Multivitamins given to 27,162 women.
Vitamin A and Albendazole given to 15762 children.
3. New Health camp in NIGERIA: by Dr EKPENYONG EFFIOK, FOUNDER & CEO, JEKSUME. A large scale camp carried out in Ekori community, Yakurr LGA in Cross River State, Nigeria, from 28th to 30th December, 2019. They were able to cover over 2,700 women beneficiaries . They have been booked to return in 6 months time to carry out another round of health services.
4. Camp in collaboration with Chetna NGO and Apollo Hospitals was held in Mahipalpur on 1st September 2019. Another camp was held Maidangadhi Delhi on 28th August 2019 with collobration of Apolo group of Hospital and around 500 people have been benefited in each camp. Chetna is an NGO "Chetna Samaj Karya Evam Punerwas Sanstha " BUNDI Rajasthan and working at southDelhi,Jaipur,Bundi and few other places of Rajasthan. .
5. Health camps organised in Partnership with JNU Jaipur. Pregnant women were given prenatal vitamins given by the physicians at the in-house hospital of JNU. Marginalised children from slums and villages were given Vitamin A and Albendazole both at the hospital as well as the camps they have organised in the slum areas.
6. Virat Hospitals and Dr Virat Vir Yadav have conducted health camps in Rewari Haryana in villages and orphanages
7. Health camps for children of labourers at construction sites by Pediatrician Dr Shalini Pandey
8. Bhagat Foundation, Gareeb graamin seva trust
9. Saksham: Saksham is implementing Projects of Every Infant Matters through its community teaching programs, plays, events, seminars & workshops at school, college, university as well as village & gram panchayat levels.
10. Robin Hood Army: we partnered with the Robin Hood Army to work in the slums of Mumbai, India.
Health camps in Nigeria
"Mealtimes can be frustrating business.. especially when you’re born at 1.2 kg!" says Dr Radhika Batra.
She continues to write: "In 2015, 20.5 million newborns, an estimated 14.6 per cent of all babies born globally that year, suffered from low birthweight. These babies were more likely to die during their first month of life and those who survived face lifelong consequences including a higher risk of stunted growth, lower IQ and adult-onset chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
To grow a healthy baby, mothers need good nutrition and rest, adequate antenatal care, and a clean environment.
Unfortunately in many third world countries these pre-requisites are a rare luxury.Most mothers are malnourished and under cared for, surviving on meagre scraps of with no antenatal checkup’s or follow up of any kind. We at every infant matters believe in giving every child a healthy start from the beginning , to help achieve this goal we started dispensing prenatal vitamins to expectant mothers which are taken from the 3rd month of pregnancy until term. These vitamins improve maternal nutritional status and hence lower the risk of intranuterine growth retardation and its long term disastrous sequelae.
Proud to announce today that Our team here at EIM has successfully provided antenatal vitamins to 27,050 expectant mothers in India and Nigeria !
One small step towards achieving the World Health Assembly (WHA) nutrition target to reduce low birthweight by 30 per cent between 2012 and 2025.."