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India: health workers in Kolkata’s slums

Today we went to a slum in Kolkata’s Ward 58 to learn about a Save the Children health project.

We walked through along small lanes and tiny alleyways, stepping over piles of rubbish, passing open doorways and seeing small businesses in action – from tailoring to sorting scrap leather.

Children picking rubbish in the slum

We accompanied Save the Children community health workers on some of their home visits. That’s when I met 18-month-old Ria.

The health worker weighed Ria using a sling attached to a scale; she weighed just 8kg.

The average weight of an 18-month-old is 11kg but Ria has made great progress in the last few months to get to the weight she is, thanks to the support her mum has received from our health workers.

18-month-old Ria with her mum

The health workers have created maps of the slum, highlighting households with babies and children.

They do home visits to track the weight of the babies and teach families about healthy eating using visual aids.

A community health worker shows her healthy eating poster

We met elders of the slum in the community health building, one of whom had lived in the slum for over 50 years.

When he arrived, there were just 12 families living in the slum. Now there are 85,000 and Save the Children is working here around the clock to support them.

Children living in the slum

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