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I, An Army Doctor

Nutrition from birth is of great value and creating awareness on this subject is of utmost importance especially in rural areas of Kashmir.

Being posted in intense CI/CT Ops area and having been selected for this assignment, I would like to call myself a combat healer. Professionally I am not a writer but today I write to share my experiences with pregnant women of J&K as part of National Nutritional week functions. Professionally I am an MBBS graduate and I would like to throw light on Health conditions of pregnant women in J&K and here I begin.

I was given a rare opportunity to interact with civilian population on the occasion of National Nutrition Week. The camp was held on 7th Sep 2021 in Primary Health Centre Magam. Being a lady doctor and RMO of a unit I was told to take a lecture on National Nutrition Week for Ladies in PHC. I was excited yet scared to take this lecture in Hindi which is not my mother tongue. My next thought was whether I will be able to make these women understand what I wanted to!

Many thoughts filled my mind when I reached Primary Health Centre Magam. Surprisingly I could see number of pregnant women already seated and eagerly waiting for a lady doctor. There were women of all age groups from 20’s to 50’s. Many were pregnant, some even mothers of pregnant ladies. I was excited and happy to see a lot of children too and their enthusiastic faces.

I introduced myself and explained the importance of nutrition in pregnancy, breast feeding techniques, and also why we celebrate National Nutrition Week every year. The theme for the year is “Feeding smart right from the start” which is also about feeding your babies smartly to prevent diseases related to nutrition. It was more of an interactive session rather than a lecture. There was an old lady of around 50-60yrs sitting in front row, who was continuously giving eye contact and listening with great concentration. She even asked a question in between which cleared my doubt whether they were actually receptive to my talk or not. However I was happy that I could percolate my advice, ideas and views into their minds and convey the message I wanted to.

After around 45 min of interactive session I told them to contact me personally if anybody had other health related issues. To my surprise I could again see a number of ladies standing in queue for the OPD. I took my time and spoke to each and every lady and child who accompanied them and advised them accordingly.

The major concerns were anaemia and nutritional deficiencies due to multiple pregnancies and abortions in pregnant women. There were also cases of Calcium and Vit D3 deficiencies in a number of them. Even a small school going kid was facing these issues which made me realise that nutrition from birth is of great value and creating awareness on this subject is of utmost importance especially in rural areas of Kashmir.

Life is so hard and difficult in remote areas of valley especially in winters. That’s why this programme was necessary to educate them on what to eat, how to eat and how to stay healthy.

I am grateful to Indian Army for giving me this opportunity to interact with ladies and clearing their myths. It was a great learning conducting this programme. The program was a success indeed in terms of footfall. It depicted the trust of common people in valley on Indian Army. Majority of the women were pregnant and we were able to provide timely assistance to them.

 In the end patients going back with a sense of satisfaction and smile on their faces remained the biggest achievement of the programme.

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