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Healthy Cities Programme

Tackling health challenges through community-based care in the first 1,000 days of life

Mumbai (Malvani)

Our Work

We run a community-based model of care in Malvani, a high-density informal settlement in western Mumbai. Its large migrant population faces high rates of malnutrition and has limited access to public health facilities.

Based on the SNEHA Centre model, the Healthy Cities Programme is a community-based model of care founded on the belief that we can tackle health and nutrition challenges through continuous investment in the first 1,000 days of life (between conception and the child’s second birthday). The programme has reached 15,000 households to date.

Home visits

SNEHA’s Community Organisers (CO) devote a large portion of their time to home visits to ensure fair coverage of all households. During a home visit, COs work with families to identify their main health needs and provide topic-specific information and support.

Capacity building

SNEHA’s team conducts regular group meetings that typically target pregnant or lactating women and mothers of young children. They share essential health information, encourage peer learning, and identify community-based role models.

Growth monitoring and screening

SNEHA’s team monitors children’s growth on a monthly basis to identify those facing severe or moderate malnutrition. Malnourished children are treated with nutrition supplements, and complicated cases are referred to Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres in public hospitals.

Counselling services

Our community centre in Malvani offers counselling services to women reporting gender-based violence. We provide free legal support as well as the services of a clinical psychologist. Our community group meetings gather local residents to discuss perceived taboo issues such as domestic violence.

Reach and Impact


increase in contraceptive prevalence rate reported (2016-2017)


cases of gender-based violence identified


increase in early registration of pregnancies at health posts (2016-2017)

Notes from the field:
A case for contraceptives

We have observed a large awareness gap among women we work with about using and accessing contraceptives. We share best practices in safe contraceptive usage, and make sure women and their partners seek medical help when necessary.

Momina*, a mother of 3 daughters had wanted to use contraceptives, but her husband had refused. A few months after she had a baby, she started experiencing extreme fatigue - she realised she was 2 months pregnant again. Upon her husband’s suggestion, Momina tried to abort her pregnancy by taking emergency contraceptive pills, but shortly after, she began experiencing heavy bleeding. She immediately contacted the Community Organiser (CO) who had spoken with her and her husband about contraception. The CO rushed her to the hospital to meet a gynecologist, who advised an abortion.

After Momina’s recovery, the Community Organiser spoke with her regarding the importance of seeking professional medical attention rather than self-medicating, and spoke with the couple about the basics of family planning.

Momina faced difficulties convincing her husband to allow her to use contraception, but eventually succeeded. The CO continues to follow up with Momina and provide advice on safe contraception.

*Name changed


Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley

Integrated Child Development Services

Integrated Child Development Services

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai