Innovative Initiative to prevent childhood disability
One of the innovative practices implemented by Karuna Foundation to ensure safe pregnancy and safe delivery is the Best Wishes Program. With the use of mHealth, a mobile tracking technology of pregnant mothers, mHealth ensures that all pregnant women, including those with disabilities register at the nearest health facilities to access adequate Ante Natal Checkup, delivery care and Post Natal Care.
Karuna Foundation Nepal provides Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV) in each village with a mobile phone to register pregnant mothers (with and without disabilities) in their communities. Once pregnant mothers are registered, FCHVs send them reminders to visit health facilities for ANC, delivery care and PNC timely checkups. Best Wishes Program also strongly encourages institutional delivery for safe delivery. This strategy was an opportunity to provide close support to women with disability towards ensuring their safe motherhood and delivering their baby without any avoidable birth defects such as spina bifida or anencephaly, a severe neural tube defect caused due to lack of folic acid (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016, “Why Folic Acid Is So Important”, para1).
The Best Wishes Program has tracked 967 pregnant women from 26 villages so far, out of which six were pregnant women with disability.