As part of ASHA’s service to the local community, the organization has undertaken small projects in the areas of healthy living and vulnernability prevention. One of these projects, the Early Intervention Programme, was created in association with a partner agency, SOFOSH (Society of Friends of the Sassoon Hospital), a child care center for orphaned children.
Babies growing up in deprived environments tend to have higher medical morbidity and mortality. They are also known to have more neuropsychological developmental delays. Some of these conditions are reversible, at least partially, if early intervention is available. ASHA has found that preventive services along with the promotion of healthy development is a very cost effective intervention. ASHA initiated the Early Intervention Programme in December 2010.
Most of the babies in the orphanage have some special needs due to difficult prenatal and birth conditions. Some have diagnosed medical conditions, while others have developmental delays. Diagnosis include congenital intestinal conditions, recurrent pulmonary infections, etc. Our volunteer pediatrician performs all medical evaluations and investigations. Aside from medical inputs, these babies need adequate stimulation for proper development.
Our Early Intervention Caregivers are the backbone of our program. Not only do the children benefit from the caregivers’ thoughtful and skillful attention, but the caregivers also greatly benefit from playing the role of essential caregivers. ASHA provides all necessary in-house training for them.
Presently there are three caregivers in the program. One caregiver is a former client of ASHA who received domestic violence crises intervention services. She has been part of the Early Intervention program since the beginning. The position has empowered her to make her own decisions in her personal life and also to support her own married daughter in crises situations. The other two caregivers were homemakers prior to joining the Early Interventional team. The ASHA staff have seen these women transform from shy and hesitant to confident women whose opinions are now considered in their own family decisions.
The caretakers are responsible for bathing, feeding, providing medical care andphysiotherapy, and meeting any other specific needs as necessitated by the medical condition of the babies.
An ASHA team member, a qualified Homeopathic Doctor, visits SOFOSH once a week to provide further inputs, including reporting on improvements made each week.
Since December 2010, a total of 98 children have participated in the Early Intervention program. Their details are as follows:
- 42 children were adopted domestically
- 15 children were adopted internationally
- 14 children were placed into foster care
- 3 children shifted to special care centers
- 12 children graduated from program due to significant improvements
- 12 children currently in project
This program would greatly benefit from external financial supports. ASHA would like to increase the number of caretakers, as well as provide more services to children with special needs awaiting adoption.