Safe Motherhood and Child Survival Programme
About the SMCS programme
The Safe Motherhood and Child Survival + programme is a community based initiative for families below the poverty line in communities in West Bengal, India. It aims to prevent mental illness and promote general health in mothers and young children. It will integrate physical and mental health interventions for pregnant women, mothers and children under 5 years. .
Giving children a healthy start to life is recognised as a powerful way to prevent mental illness:
“Improving nutrition and development in disadvantaged children can lead to healthy cognitive development, improved educational outcomes and reduced risk for mental ill health.” (WHO 2004)
Community programmes represent the third element in Minds for Health's efforts to help Antara develop a comprehensive mental health service for children. Since 2002 supporters have funded the creation of a ward and an outpatient department for children.
The SMCS programme will support up to 500 families below the poverty line in three ways
Firstly, by tackling three of the major causes of mental illness and disability in children:
- Safe care in pregnancy, birth and after birth
- Supporting good nutrition for mothers and children.
- Immunisations against major childhood diseases.
Secondly, the programme aims to improve the early management of childhood mental health problems in the community through:
- Mental health education.
- Empowering local communities and self-help groups
- Early detection of mental illness.
- Increased uptake of Antara’s services by the most disadvantaged.
Finally, participating mothers and family members will have the opportunity to learn income-generating skills, through Antara’s occupational therapy textiles department, so relieving the poverty that exacerbates poor health.
Parents are also given a food supplement as an incentive for attendance and to off-set the time away from work.
How you can help
Local people and women's committees will be involved to ensure long-term benefits to communities and development of a mainly self-sufficient programme.
However, to set up and run the SMCS programme for the first 3 years, Minds for Health needs to raise a total of £18,000. To support this appeal please consider making a donation on-line: