Dilkhush was born on January 9, 2018, weighing 2.5 kilograms. His mother, Fori and father, Durgalal were happy with the birth of their first child, making it a family of three.

The family draws its income from cattle farming and agriculture, with no external assistance. As a result, the infant’s parents began to spend less time with him, being occupied with farming. Fori’s prime concern became supporting her husband. She was also unaware of the child’s age-appropriate feeding and care needs. Due to this lack of knowledge and understanding, she did not continue breastfeeding little Dilkhush till the mandatory six months, nor did she begin complementary feeding beyond six months.

Anganwadi Worker (AWW), Sarita Sharma their household several times, but scarcely got any time with the new parents. This, she was unable to schedule counselling sessions for them, on crucial childcare practices. These circumstances persisted for some time till Dilkhush’s health started steadily deteriorating.

Dilkhush was unable to walk and constantly slept on the bed when he was two years old, but his parents were unaware of any developmental warning signs. When Sohan, the Cluster Coordinator, visited their residence for the first time, he found the child in poor health. To add to that, Dilkhush was always crying. Sohan inquired about Dilkhush’s care and his mother’s daily routine at the time.

On learning the whole situation, Sohan counselled Fori. “Your child is very weak, and you should take him to the hospital as soon as possible.” Fori was unable to understand what this meant, ended up attributing Dilkhush’s health condition to her child getting the evil eye. Her instant solution to this became a visit to the temple to get him blessings. This led Sohan to realise that Fori was completely unaware of the nutritional status of the child.

He explained to her that it is crucial for a child to develop with age, and that her child is extremely weak. He advised her to take him to the hospital immediately to prevent his condition from worsening. Sohan’s repeated emphasis on the child’s critical condition, helped Fori realise that she does need to rush her son to the hospital. And she did just that.

Later, in January 2021, once Dilkhush’s treatment started, Sohan organised counseling sessions for Fori on age-appropriate feeding and care practices for children. Fori followed the instructions given to her, and her son’s health began to improve.

During the 7-8-month lockdown period, Sohan was unable to visit Fori’s house to monitor progress. However, the AWW, Sarita routinely visited Dilkhush and counselled the family. This period also brought the family closer together. The parents spent quality time with their child and this helped him heal well.

Since then, the Khushi team, in collaboration with the AWW, has made several home visits to Dilkhush’s home and counselled Fori and Durgalal on the consistency, frequency, quantity and quality of meals.

Dilkhush is now three years and two months old. He weighs 12 kilograms, and falls in the green group on the growth chart. He is now a healthy child, and his parents are overjoyed.

About the Programme: The overall goal of the Khushi project is to strengthen the functionality and quality of service delivery of the government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Programme to improve the health and well-being of children below 6 years of age. This project started in 2016 in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, and is covering three blocks namely Hurda, Shahpura and Suwana under the project.

Posted by: Shalini Sharma, Project Coordinator, KHUSHI Project

Location: Shahpura block, Bhilwara district, Rajasthan