Healthy Mothers, Happy Families
At first glance, Shazia comes across as a delicate, fresh faced girl in her late teens – certainly not as a mother of two children. As per the cultural norms of her small village of Maula Bakhsh Kanjrani in Jacobabad District, Shazia was married as a teenager to an already married man, almost twice her age.
Shazia’s husband works as a farmer. He lives in a joint family system, and his income is not enough to ensure that all members of his family have access to a healthy meal three times a day or medicines when they fall ill. Shazia, in addition to managing all household chores at home, also lends a hand to her husband in the fields during planting and harvesting seasons. While working hard both inside and outside the house, Shazia barely found the time to take care of her own health and diet.
Shazia conceived soon after her marriage and gave birth to her son, Dilbar Haji. Due to a lack of education and social awareness, she had no knowledge about the right diet for pregnant women. Already frail and burdened with work, she couldn’t get enough rest during her pregnancy. Her health worsened after the delivery of daughter, Aamna.
Around that time, Save the Children was conducting an awareness session in Maula Bakhsh Kanjrani for its project on Family Planning and Post Abortion Care (FPPAC), based in districts Shikarpur and Jacobabad in Sindh. The Project aims to enhance access availability and utilisation of FPPAC facilities among vulnerable population and improve the competency of local service providers to ensure long term sustainability and impact.
The Community Mobilisation Officer (CMO) briefed the women in the village about different methods for family planning such as pills and implants. The CMO also counselled the women on good hygiene and nutrition practices to prevent diseases and malnutrition.
Following the CMO’s advice, Shazia visited the nearest health facility where a doctor informed her that she had a blood deficiency and weakness due to poor nutrition. After a detailed consultation with the doctor, Shazia decided to take the contraceptive pills, and has been taking them since four months now. Everything is provided free of charge to her.
Shazia’s husband and mother-in-law were initially reluctant to allow her to take pills, but she told them how it would improve the quality of life for the entire family. Gradually, they came around and now fully support Shazia in all her decisions regarding family planning.
“My health has improved greatly. I feel stronger, and I also make sure that my children lead a healthy, hygienic life,” says Shazia.