Breaking the Patriarchy- making it possible

Case Study 1_Breaking the Patriarchy

Farjana Biwi (name changed), stays in Kashirampur village in Banganagar Gram Panchayat, South 24 Parganas and is a mother of three children. She has undergone Tubectomy and finally been able to take her decision of having no more children. But her journey and struggle to reach this stage was not very easy.

It was June 2019, when she got registered for third pregnancy. In the 1st ANC her weight was only 43 kgs and Haemoglobin HB] was as low as 8. She did receive Iron and Folic Acid tablets (IFA), but she did not consume it. Also she was not eager to come for 2nd ANC. After several counseling sessions by CINI Community Facilitator (CF), Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and Anganwadi Workers (AWC), she came for her 2nd checkup, but her weight and HB level did not improve much.

This made everyone worried and the CF tried to find out the reason behind this. Through a prolonged conversation it was known that she was doing all household work and had no time to take rest. As their economic condition was very poor, she didn’t get proper nutritious food. It was also revealed that her husband didn’t stop having sex with her even during her pregnancy situation. She tried to stop him but it didn’t help. She requested the CF to make her husband understand her situation. Knowing this, the team (CF, ASHA and AWW) went for house visit and observed that the relationship between the couple was not good. Her husband was not willing to talk to them and was very rude to the team members. After several visits, it became possible for the team to talk to her husband and found that a typical patriarchal mind set and norms were prevailing in the house. Her husband stated that he will not be able to help her wife in household work as it is meant for the women to do! This made the team visit the house regularly and counsel the couple, especially the husband. He was counseled on the side effect of having sexual intercourse during pregnancy which may lead to physical impairment of the baby. After the regular counseling the husband understood this fact and this helped Farjana. Through regular counseling and homevisits CF and ASHA explained the importance of taking IFA, calcium tablets, taking rest, taking proper nutritious food regularly during pregnancy period. Also they explained the importance of regular checkup, spot feeding etc.

This resulted positively as she started taking food properly, taking supplementary nutrition regularly from Anganwadi Centre and also came for spot feeding. A big change was observed in her husband’s behavior as he was taking care of Farjana’s food. She also started consuming IFA and calcium tablets regularly. At the end Farjana gained 13 Kgs of weight in her pregnancy period and HB increased from 8 to 10.
On 01.01.20 she gave birth to a healthy child in a nearby hospital. Baby’s weight was 2kg 800gm.