Caring for Body, Soul and Mind

Caring for Body, Soul and Mind

By: Brandy Campbell, with Jacintha Phillip in India   |   Posted: January 09, 2008

"The Child Survival Program has been a great source of encouragement and comfort for my family," says Ambica.

The pain was constant. Each morning Ambica woke with deep aches in her chest, joints and back. Fever ravaged her body. By noon she was exhausted, and had to rest after only a few minutes of work in the garden. But a trip to the medical clinic was out of the question. She could no longer afford it.

Years earlier, Ambica had been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia and frequently visited the doctor to manage the blood disorder. But each visit meant selling an acre of land from the family's dwindling farm to pay the medical bills. Now, there was nothing left to sell. Ambica would have ignored the pain but then Akhila, her 6-month-old daughter, began exhibiting the same symptoms: jaundiced skin, high fevers, abdominal pain. Ambica was desperate to help her daughter. But how?

When Akhila was 8 months old, a worker from the Thrissilery Child Survival Program visited Ambica. When the worker learned about Ambica and Akhila's sickness and lack of resources, she immediately registered them into the program.

Program workers swiftly arranged for Ambica and Akhila's medical care. The program provides bus fare to Calicut, where mother and daughter receive medical care from highly trained doctors and specialists.

"Before CSP, I couldn't afford medicines or nutritious foods for me and my family," says Ambica. "Now, after joining the program, even if I don't have money, I know I can depend on the program to take care of my needs. The Child Survival Program takes extra care of me and my daughter due to our health condition."

As Ambica's health improves, so does her energy level and she now participates in literacy and income-generating workshops. "I used to use my thumbprint for my signature, but now I have learned how to sign my name," says Ambica. "They also taught me how to take care of my children by giving them food at the right time, and keeping them clean by giving them regular baths and clean clothes to wear."

Health specialists at the center have also taught Ambica and her husband how to tend to their daughter's unique needs, including monitoring her for the infections and sicknesses caused by sickle cell anemia.

"The Child Survival Program has been a great source of encouragement and comfort for my family," says Ambica. "I have been greatly helped by CSP workers and now I feel I have someone to talk to and share my problems with. I am so happy that the program is here to help mothers like me."

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