Access to health care for migrant women in India

5 April 2023

Photo credits: Chandra Kiran Katta


Migrant workers, especially women working in brick kilns, are vulnerable, particularly due to lack of access to health care. Thanks to Action Education's education projects in six Indian cities, pregnant migrant women and nursing mothers can now access health and nutrition services at their destination.


Ensuring safe childbirth for pregnant women employed in the brickworks

young migrant woman receiving health care for childbirth

Lalitha Jhara, 20, was seven months pregnant when she moved from Odisha to Telangana with her husband to work in a brick factory. Soon after learning about her condition, the education facilitator of the 'UDAAN' project implemented by Action Education registered her with the local community health worker. Since then, the worker has followed her regularly. As delivery approached, Lalitha began to experience cramps and was transferred to the local hospital. When her blood pressure fluctuated, she was referred to the government maternity hospital in Hyderabad, where she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. health. Both mother and child are doing well.


"Due to our precarious financial situation, we were forced to migrate to work in brick kilns. At first I was worried about my health because we were isolated. I gained confidence only after the community health worker advised me and provided me with the necessary medical support. I realised that I had made the right decision to opt for an institutional delivery after being transferred to a specialised hospital in Hyderabad due to fluctuations in my blood pressure. Lalitha.


Lack of information, a major barrier to migrant women's access to health care

Despite government initiatives to provide free services to pregnant women and sick newborns, migrant women working in brick factories are still at risk of not receiving adequate maternal health care at their destination. This is due to a lack of knowledge of health services The availability of health services and the distance from the brick kilns make it difficult for community health workers to reach pregnant women.


Initiatives with slow but sure changes

Health camp at a brickworks site in Telangana, India

"When we set up the site school For the children of migrant workers in the brick kilns, we contact the workers and community health workers, and share the list of pregnant and lactating women on the site. Once registered, their health status is regularly monitored and they are encouraged to give birth in a safe facility. Srinivas Vaddepally, Project Manager of the UDAAN initiative in Telangana.

Action Education, a leader in providing migrant women with access to health care in India

By developing effective links with government service providers, the project is able to provide access to health care services for these migrant populations. Action Education's initiatives for migrant workers in the cities of Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Patna in India have enabled 1,620 migrant women to give birth safely in government health facilities since 2014. A total of 2,374 pregnant and lactating women have received a 'child protection card' from the respective health departments of the destination states, which is essential for monitoring the health and well-being of the mother and child.

Overall, Action Education's coordinated approach involving health care providers, brick kiln owners and government agencies has created safer and healthier environments for migrant women and their children.


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