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Malishwali bai's

The Mother Support Group (MSG) Project

By BPNI (Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India) Maharashtra State Branch.

  1. Project Summary
  2. Project Profile


The project aim was to utilize the potential of Malishwali Bais (TMW: Traditional Massage Women) for the benefit of infant health care through their scientific training. This would be a practical & feasible approach due to daily contact of TMW with mother & family members.

It has been observed that most of the mothers go through their motherhood without any formal discussion with medical practitioner on infant feeding & baby care. What a mother does is strongly influenced by TMW who is considered as experienced in baby care. In order to encash on this belief of society & implement best of infant feeding & caring practices in larger strata of society, it was planned to give a formal 12 hour training (over 12 weeks) on infant feeding & baby care to TMW.

The course curriculum was designed by pediatricians & obstetricians who included areas like:

Benefits & problems associated with Breastfeeding.
Dos & don'ts of routine Baby Care.
Immunization & Nutrition of infants.
Primary health care for common health problems before medical attention is given to child.
Child spacing & maternal health

The training methodology adopted was pre-test followed by class room training; supported by literature on child care & post-test to evaluate effectiveness of training. At the end inputs were also given through role plays on real life situation & viva by medical practitioners. The overall performance was judged by pediatricians, obstetricians & family physicians for certification. The poor performers were made to undergo additional training to ensure that the quality of output from these TMW is up to the mark.

The feedback from mothers & their family members who got services of trained TMW is very encouraging. Mothers are aware about good practices of infant health management through literature & services available to them from trained TMW.

The project in it's first 2 phases( till August 2001) has trained 340 TMW from Goregoan to Dahisar. The third phase of the project has already started.

We feel that this methodology of training TMW to include them in the chain of infant health management along with medical practitioners is an innovative one & has high potential of spreading best medical practices of infant health management to the large mass of society. We recommend that this project should be initiated in other areas by organizations like UNICEF & other health care organizations so that every mother follows correct infant feeding & child care practices.


  1. Programme Area : Goregaon to Dahisar (Mumbai)
  2. Immediate Beneficiaries : Malishwali Bais (TMW) (Total approx. 1000 )
  3. Curriculum : Breastfeeding, child caring practices, child survival strategies & maternal health (12 sessions, 1 hour once a week)
  4. Trainers: Mother Support Group Leaders
  5. Final Beneficiaries : Mother & children
  6. Project Time Frame : 5 Years
  7. Starting date : April 2000
  8. Anticipated completion date : March 2005
  9. Stages of programme implementation : 10 phases (Each lasting for 6 months & training 100 TMW).
  10. Financial support : UNICEF (Mumbai)
  11. Final outcome expected : Improved infant & child morbidity & mortality & better maternal health due to improved knowledge, attitudes & practices of mothers in areas mentioned under curriculum.
  12. Progress till august 2001 : Total 340 TMW have been trained & certified in the first 2 phases of the project. The third phase of the project has already started.



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