Programme to educate women on pregnancy, childcare

CHENNAI Nov. 1. A social awareness programme focussing on educating women about pregnancy, antenatal and neonatal care, was launched today by the Centre for Preventive Perinatology at Kanchi Kamokoti CHILDS Trust Hospital, here.

The Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi, who conceptualised the programme `Sishu Paripalana Jaagrithi', inaugurated it, handing over the course material of `Sukanya', the first component of the programme to the MOP Vaishav College secretary, P. Haridas.

Sri Vijayendra Saraswathi said that in olden days people were unable to deal with childbirth complications or to diagnose birth deficiencies. Today, science and technology enabled early diagnosis, early preventive care or even timely intervention. The Sishu Paripalana Jaagrithi programme hoped to create awareness among women of the importance of a healthy family life and rearing healthy children.

"The idea is to bring forth a generation of healthier children and a healthier nation. Mythological and historical characters such as Athithi, Prahalada, Dhruva, or Gnanasambandar symbolised the importance of health, devotion, learning and commitment to family.

The nation should benefit from the rich legacy of such examples.'' The hospital's medical director, S. Sridharan, and a coordinator of the programme, Deepa Hariharan, said at least 50 per cent of birth deficiencies among new-borns was preventable through awareness programmes.

`Sukanya' would, through one-day sessions, create awareness among college girls and unmarried women. Initially batches of students from the MOP Vaishnav College would learn about the physiology of menstruation, conception, pregnancy and child birth, pre-marital and pre-conceptional health checks, family planning, diagnosis of pregnancy, genetic problems and consanguinity, monitoring birth defects and scientific approach to choosing a spouse.

The next component, `Pradeepa', would focus on married women, giving them awareness of avoiding pregnancy complications and ensuring healthy children. `Shrimmatha' targeted pregnant mothers on safe child birth, choosing the correct place for delivery and preparing the newborn. `Mathrubandhu' was a component for creating awareness among family members of a pregnant mother.

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