WWF's reproductive health care project is an effort engineered by the community health workers themselves to voice the needs of the poor women who have hitherto been denied even the basic health care. The endeavour of providing all services to the poor women and children is a major strategy in the WWF, both to enhance women's economic roles and restrict their frequent reproductive roles. Thus, the challenge now is also the compulsion to evolve a new and effective delivery mechanism of people's participation in health care measures including family planning services leading to sensitive population planning and a holistic reproductive health care. The Reproductive & Child Health Programme of WWF is sensitive to the needs of the poor women in urban & rural areas. It has successfully overcome the existing apathy amongst the community to access health services by promoting health workers from amongst the community to sensitise others. The holistic approach of the health programme takes care of women's problem right from the time of birth. In some of WWF's areas of operation, female infanticide is widely prevalent therefore ensuring the girl child, her right to life is the primary task of Forum's health workers.
Needs of adolescents, both boys and girls are addressed through peer group counselling, women in reproductive age groups and post-reproductive groups are counselled on several reproductive health issues ranging from her nutritional status, anaemia, antenatal care, post partum care, safe deliveries, immunisation, informed choice of contraceptive practices and other prevalent issues such as menstrual hygiene, reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. Women in the post-reproductive age groups are also taken care of and issues affecting them such as anaemia, cataract, problems of menopause and psychological pressures of ageing and insecurities associated with the elderly are closely counselled and referred for appropriate medical help.
The Community Health Workers:
The Reproductive and Child Health Programme is an innovative and an integrated approach to women's productive and economic roles vis-a-vis her reproductive role. The key women of this programme are well-trained and highly-motivated cadre of Women Community Health Workers (CHW) with class, geographic and cultural proximity to the community in which they live and work. These CHWs are identified and recruited from the grassroots, trained and put back to work in their own community. This ensures an effective accountability mechanism.
Trained in communication skills and being members of the same community, these women are highly sensitive to the problems of the poor. They also have the social acceptability required for effective interaction with the target groups in their service areas. Even as the project moves on to other slums/villages, these CHWs set themselves up into an effective network of health personnel within their own neighbourhood communities, taking care of the existing families and also the new arrivals. Unlike the traditional birth attendants(TBAs), these workers have the advantage of WWF's training in modern methods of health care. Their honorarium is compensated by local incentives.