Anaemia among pregnant and lactating women down from 52% to 38% in Mumbai slums: survey

A survey conducted by NGOs in partnership with BMC and ICDS over three years on 1038 mothers from vulnerable urban settlements in Mumbai reveal improvement in the status of child and maternal health

Updated - May 16, 2024 09:50 am IST

Published - May 15, 2024 10:54 am IST - MUMBAI

The survey was conducted on mothers living in vulnerable settlements in Mumbai’s Mankhurd, Govandi and Dharavi.

The survey was conducted on mothers living in vulnerable settlements in Mumbai’s Mankhurd, Govandi and Dharavi. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


A survey conducted over three years on 1038 mothers (between the age group of 25-29) of 0–5-year-old children to assess maternal and child health outcomes in urban vulnerable settlements in Mumbai reveals improvement in the status of child and maternal health.

The survey report titled, ‘Hybrid Intervention to Improve Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) in Urban Informal Settlements of Mumbai: Evaluation Report’ was conducted by the Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action (SNEHA) a Mumbai-based NGO along with H.T. Parekh Foundation.  

The survey was conducted on mothers living in vulnerable settlements in Mumbai’s Mankhurd, Govandi and Dharavi which included nutrition counselling and identification and referral of child malnutrition in collaboration with ICDS and health system staff. 

The report highlights significant improvements in child-feeding practices among mothers residing in these vulnerable communities. These improvements encompass several key domains, including adherence to exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, appropriate initiation of complementary feeding, and diet quality such as meeting minimum meal frequency and acceptable diet requirements for young children.

Exclusive breastfeeding rates increased significantly from 59% in the initial survey (2021) to 74% in the subsequent evaluation (2024). Additionally, the proportion of mothers practising appropriate initiation of complementary feeding has risen from 66% to 74% over the same period. Furthermore, immunisation coverage for vaccine-preventable diseases, a critical component of child well-being, has shown an increase from 78% to 87% over the assessment period. 

As per the report, anaemia among pregnant and lactating women has reduced from 52% (2021) to 38% (2024). This in turn has also led to a reduction in malnutrition among slum children aged 0-5 years. As per the findings, stunting (a form of malnutrition) among these children declined from 34% in 2021 to 30% in 2024. Underweight children showed a reduction from 32% in 2021 to 29% in 2024. 

Speaking on the survey findings, Sushma Shende, Programme Director, Maternal and Child Health, SNEHA said, “We’ve closely partnered with the government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) health services to address malnutrition and health issues among children in our areas.

The survey has proven the impact that we along with H.T. Parekh Foundation have created through our efforts, in collaboration with the public services and the mothers and families in the communities where we work. We firmly believe that a healthy child is a precious gift to a mother and a critical investment in building a healthy nation.“ 

Sweety Thomas, the Chief Operating Officer of the H.T. Parekh Foundation, remarked: “Through this project, which aimed to improve the health of our children, it was clear that an empowered and involved community can make a big difference in the health of a mother and in turn giving children a strong start in life.” 

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