Audio bangles improving nutrition in south west Bangladesh
Trying to stay healthy, eat well and seek basic health care is not always easy for pregnant women in south west Bangladesh. Almost 27 percent of the population live on less than $1.90 per day – classifying them as ultra-poor. Frequent natural disasters and rising salinity levels further compromise household food security. Early marriage is pervasive and the average age of first pregnancy is 16.9 – only 38% of women are able to access primary health care services essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. It’s not surprising that 26.8 percent of children under 5 are stunted and one of every five women between the ages of 15 and 49 are underweight. Critically, the first 1,000 days between a mother’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday sets the foundation for all the days that follow. ‘Nobo Jatra – new beginning’ a five-year development food security project led by World Vision and funded by USAID – has taken a number of innovative approaches targeting women during pregnancy till the child transitions from exclusive breastfeeding to complementary foods. Akhi, a young mother, was enrolled in the Nobo Jatra project during her 3rd month of pregnancy. To start, Akhi received a COEL bangle – programmed to transmit weekly audio health messages – that are tailored to the exact stage of her pregnancy.