Some of the first activities the UHRC encourages slum women to discuss and analyze health, well-being challenges faced by their families and the community as a whole. UHRC helps a new slum women’s group with are health activism training and advocacy of healthy household practices.
Through workshops and training sessions, women’s groups are encouraged to begin promoting healthy practices and health seeking behaviors in their communities, such as going to the hospital during the time of labor. This process involves training women’s group members to become social health activists to conduct preventive and promotive health workshops and sessions for their peers.
An aspect of this training is encouraging women’s group members to promote cultural traditions that are relevant to their communities, while incorporating educational curriculums surrounding proper hygiene and healthy behaviors for new mothers. One example is that UHRC women’s groups often hold group Annaprashan ceremonies (a ceremony wherein a child is first fed food other than milk), incorporating curriculums surrounding ante-natal child care.
UHRC also trains group members on reaching out to private and public healthcare providers such as Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and Anganwadi centers to run health camps in their communities. At the 13th World Congress on Public Health, the UHRC reported improvements in slum residents’ access to health services and information and adoption of healthy behaviors in intervention areas. Furthermore, they noted that as of 2009, 70% of children in intervention areas were completely immunized as opposed to 28% in areas that had not yet developed UHRC programs [https://wfpha.confex.com/wfpha/2012/webprogram/Paper10702.html]
In addition to advocacy and education, UHRC women’s groups also play a direct role in linking women in urban slums to health services. Women’s group members frequently escort married adolescent migrant girls to hospitals for safer deliveries when they go into labor, and to ante-natal services which they may not otherwise be familiar with [Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Government of India. Guidelines for developing city level urban health projects, New Delhi: Government of India: 2005].