Leon Kaye's Blogs

  • “Godh Bharai” – Baby Showers as Training for Pregnant Women in India

    On Monday I visited Holumbi Khurd, a colony outside of New Delhi, India. On the edge of India’s agricultural riches and in the shadows of a new industrial complex in North Delhi, many of Holumbi Khurd’s residents were relocated here from other urban slums slated for demolition. Life for everyone is rough to say the least, including for women and children. Prenatal health and childhood nutrition are key issues in this district, and NGOs such as Child Survival India have an uphill battle to prevent early child deaths. One way in which Child Survival India’s staff educates young pregnant women is by leveraging the “Godh Bharai,” a traditional baby shower ceremony. Such tactics are a way to build trust without appearing to be didactic lectures from yet another pushy group of outsiders. ...

  • Mumbai at Midnight

    After a 15 1/2 hour flight marked by sensory deprivation, the senses become alive again after the airplane door opens and you walk onto the jetway and into Mumbai’s Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The musty humidity is ridden with wafts of urine, aromatic spices and the sweat of the thousands who work and file through the airport. Advertisements bombard eyes already tired from staring at a little video screen during that long transoceanic flight. I arrived tonight in Mumbai, completely sleep deprived, after 30+ hours of travel since early yesterday morning. Ten of us will report on children’s health and survival issues in India until February 27. We were greeted quickly by the hotel staff after we sailed through immigration and customs. After filing into the hotel cars, the adventure began, though in fairness Mumbai on a late Sunday...

  • How Cell Phones Help Deliver Prenatal Care in India

    Many women in India lack access to adequate prenatal care and deliver newborns in the home. A program backed by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the U.S. State Department, however, helps health care workers deliver critical health advice and monitoring with the help of a simple mobile telephone. Since 2010 Dimagi has equipped health care workers with cell phones operating Dimagi’s CommCare software. A pilot program in the Kaushambi District of Uttar Pradesh has already found success after six months. Analytics are not yet complete, but  the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) who visit pregnant women have improved their knowledge of newborn care interventions and other high impact maternal care information by almost 25 percent. Watch the video below to learn more about an amazing program helping to save women’s, and newborns’, lives. ...

  • The 2500th Post: Off to Report on Children’s Health in India

    Usually when I hit a milestone I look back at what has occurred and share my thoughts. This time I am moving forward. Tomorrow I depart to India for two weeks. I will report on children’s health and survival thanks to a journalism fellowship with the International Reporting Project. We will arrive in Mumbai, spend a couple days in Nagpur, visit the village of Gadchiroli and wrap up in Delhi. And as an aside, I am staying three extra nights so I can treat myself to a visit at the Taj Mahal. I just have to do it. I have not always made the best career or personal choices, but have been lucky in many of the experiences I have had. I’ve been blessed to have spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia,...

  • Unilever Promotes Handwashing Campaign Message Using Rotis

    Mmm, roti. The king of South Asian unleavened flatbreads is a staple on the subcontinent, and, of course, is ubiquitous in the best Indian neighborhoods from Artesia in Los Angeles to Singapore’s Little India. And recently, these sublime carbohydrate bombs spread an important message about handwashing thanks to a Unilever campaign led by its timeless bar soap brand, Lifebuoy. This literal “branding” campaign, sparked by both Lifebuoy and OglivyAction, took place during the recent Hindu festival known as the Kumbh Mela. This annual tradition sees millions of pilgrims take to cities such as Allahabad in order to purge away their sins in the Ganges. Allahabad was the scene of the tragic stampede on Sunday, which killed at least 36 people, and that tragedy dominated the headlines. But an important social message was passed on to those...

  • Joining International Reporting Project Next Month in India

    I am excited to announce that the International Reporting Project (IRP) invited me on their trip to next month in India. Ten of us will travel between Mumbai and Delhi to cover issues on child survival in India. Topics we will cover will include vaccinations, HIV/AIDS, access to clean water and hygiene and health care. The IRP has a proud history of covering under-reported issues in under-covered nations, and it is exciting to be part of this group. The trip will start February 17 and conclude February 27. I have always been reticent to cover any issue in India because I have never visited, so this is an incredible opportunity. Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com, where this post originally appeared.

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