November 11, 2020

Case Study: From Child Marriage to Health Leader

Name: Amreika Patel

Occupation: Sakhi - ACF Health Programme

Location: Baloda Bazaar, Chhattisgarh

Age: 35

Education: 12th Standard

All her life, Amreika Patel dreamed of being a nurse. But at just 13 years of age, her father passed away and she soon got married. For almost 13 years she was restricted to housework and her nursing dreams seemed but a pipe-dream.

But in 2010, she had a child and whilst receiving vaccination, a local ASHA worker told her about a meeting in the village by ACF. They were looking for people interested in working in village health, and Amreika was the first to raise her hand for the job!

And so Amreika became the very first Sakhi in the Baloda Bazaar area. Taking up the role with gusto, Amreika became very passionate and vocal about health - with many people coming to her for health advice and guidance.

Buoyed by Amreika's success and using her as a role model, ACF expanded the Home Based Newborn Care (HNBC) programme in another 13 villages with the support of 27 Sakhis. Amreika was with them along the way - leading in training the women, paying monthly visits to new Sakhis to motivate them and ensuring none of them dropped out of the programme.

In a district with low health seeking behaviour, in just 8 years she, almost single-handedly, changed the health indicator and scenario across 13 villages. And because of her leadership in health she has become a Ward Member, elected by her community - a position just below a Sarpanch.

What does her husband and in-laws think of all this? "People say to me 'your wife is one in a million- she takes care of you, your children, house, other family members and the community too! I feel very proud." says her husband.


- 27 Sakhis trained by America. Helped to expand HNBC to 13 villages

- 100% institutional delivery achieved

- 4000+ pregnant women availed in healthcare services

- 2800 adolescent girls participated in health awareness program

- More than 80% pregnant women undergoing sonography

November 11, 2020

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