A BJ Medical College student, Mrunmayee Mangale’s project on ‘Child Weaning and rearing practices among brothel based Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) and its effect over the health status of their children below 2.5 years of age’, has helped her to get selected for the Asia Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) in Japan. She will be one among the 12 medical students selected from India who would be representing India at APRM arranged by International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA).
Mangale’s study revealed that 22 per cent of children from red light areas in Pune, from the sample size of 50, were malnourished. It also reveals that 16 per cent of the children, who were born in a brothel, were malnourished compared to 6 per cent who were born before coming to a brothel. The survey also found positive correlation between illiteracy and malnourishment and knowledge on weaning practices and malnourishment.
“I used to visit red light areas on Saturday and Sunday when I was conducting the survey for Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). CSW lacked knowledge about immunization, health check-ups, and exclusive breast feeding period. Though more than 70 per cent of children took daily bath and showed good hygienic status, nail biting and thumb sucking was found in over 70 per cent of children,” said Mangale.
“I found that their profession holds these mothers from visiting healthcare centers and getting their children vaccinated. Almost half of the deliveries were done in brothels. There is very little awareness on diet and nutrition,” she added. Mangale had made an extensive questionnaire on child rearing knowledge and practices.
While examining health of child tools like personal hygiene, general appearance and anthropometric measurements were used. Separate analysis on post natal care factors like feeding of cholesterol, artificial feeding practices, weaning practices, vaccination, practice of oil massage and role of tradition customs and beliefs were also evaluated.
She would now represent India at ‘standing committee for sexual and reproductive health’ in APRM. The theme for APRM 2017 is ‘healthcare in conflict and emergencies: medical workers towards building peace’. “I along with other selected medical students would be trained on how to handle healthcare in conflict areas. I will then be given the responsibility of spreading the awareness about the same to my fellow medical students in India,” she said.