BEING A PARENT DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS

BEING A PARENT DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS

For 25-year-old Asma Sayyed, her pregnancy had taken quite a toll on her health even as she and her husband Ghulam Moinuddin were struggling with the economic impact the pandemic had on their lives. Before the pandemic hit, Moinuddin had a small factory setup where he and his workers embroidered dresses and frocks. He was forced to close it down and wait for things to improve.

During the first wave, Asma was pregnant with her 3rd child and the financial hardship couldn’t have come at a worse time. Asma was enlisted in Action Against Hunger’s First 1000 Days of Life project in the slums of Govandi during a routine survey in February 2020. At that time, she was nursing 5-month-old Nimra. She received counseling on breastfeeding, complementary feeding and other critical child-care practices. Moinuddin in the meantime started making fabric masks at home to support the family, barely manage to make ends meet.

When Asma turned pregnant in March 2020, she received support from Action Against Hunger mobilizers on pregnancy care, seeking ANC services, medical checkups and birth preparation. But it was easier said than done. With barely any income, her nutritional intake was affected and health services weren’t consistently available because of the lockdown. She received medicines and medical based support from another humanitarian organization working in Mumbai while Action Against Hunger supplied dry rations through food baskets and kept in touch with her though phone-based counseling sessions.

“It was only due to the constant support and follow up from the Action Against Hunger community mobilisers, that I was able to gain better knowledge on how I should deal with the issues post pregnancy, what I should eat so that my health remains good,” Asma said.

As restrictions eased, Moinuddin’s brother was able to restart work as an auto driver and contribute to the family income. Their 3rd daughter, Ayat was born healthy in November 2020 and has since been thriving. The only hiccup, she was born with a heart defect. Fortunately it was diagnosed as a treatable condition and Asma and Moinuddin are able to save money and provide for her treatment.

Image credits – Sudharak Olwe