It was the 1990s, and like so many other neonatologists in the country, Dr. Armida
Fernandez and her team were spending countless hours in the NICU saving lives of
underweight and premature infants born to mothers from the urban slums. These mothers
were typically unhealthy themselves and had no knowledge on how to be healthy, manage
healthy pregnancies or to keep their children healthy. After all the efforts that
went into saving these infant's lives, releasing them into these uninformed and
impoverished environments was a big concern.
Dr. Fernandez recognized that the only solution to breaking this vicious cycle was
to empower these women with the information and tools they needed to build healthier
families. With that objective in mind, a small team of neonatologists started going
out into the slums of Dharavi to educate women on subjects like nutrition, ante
natal care, the importance of delivering babies in hospitals, breast feeding and
immunizations. The team realized that the women were starved for information; they
just had no access to it in the past. They not only soaked in all the information
they were given but also lost no time in putting that knowledge to practical use.
And SNEHA was born.
Today, SNEHA is a 350+ person strong and progressive organization that works closely
with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. We do innovative work in the urban
slums to reduce maternal mortality, newborn mortality, malnutrition and domestic
violence. And at our core remains the belief that the cycle of ill health can and
must be broken by creating an urban society whose foundation is built on a healthy
and empowered populace.
At SNEHA, we continue to chase the dream of "Healthy Women and Children populating
a Healthy Urban World".
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