Generating awareness on public health is my passion. I believe that for any society to be productive, it has to be healthy. It needs to be realised by all that effort and investment in public health is crucial for the attainment of UN millennium development goals and fulfilment of fundamental rights of a citizen. As a member of the CARE team, I feel a sense of pride when I see CARE India involved in projects which are working for the betterment of health, such as the Gates foundation funded Integrated Family Health Initiative(IFHI) program in the state of Bihar and FHI 360 funded Urban Health Initiative(UHI) project in Uttar Pradesh. Though my finance work entails sitting in the HQ in Delhi and number crunching, I have always loved field visits. I was fortunate to visit the Kalahandi district of Odisha where CARE implements a livelihoods program called Pathways. There, I had the chance to interact with a women self-help group. I noticed that the women, some of whom were mothers, were attending the meeting with their infants. I was delighted to see the group not only because CARE had helped in organizing it, but also because the camaraderie between all the women was so refreshing. In fact, CARE India has helped the formation of many such collectives, so that woman become aware of the importance of generating livelihoods and opening bank accounts to channelize their savings and raising credit. What I enjoyed most was seeing that such meetings helped the women gain confidence and contribute to their livelihoods.

While meeting the group and learning the work that they do, I learnt that CARE works towards strengthening the reproductive rights of these women. I understood that whether it is the issue of family planning, population stabilisation or strengthening of institutional delivery systems, the prime objectives of health projects are linked to maternal and child care. I believe that family planning is an important aspect of maternal and child health care. Much has changed, but more needs to be done. Awareness generation is critical in bringing about such changes. I was shocked when on a field visit to Kolkata, West Bengal, I heard how a child of an HIV positive woman was denied admission in school or how people refused to have tea prepared by an HIV patient. But it was heartening to see the outreach front workers in the Emphasis project team of CARE spreading awareness on HIV –AIDS. Let us together play a pivotal role in building a healthy India! –

Amit Arora Director

Finance, CARE India