• Life Line

#26 Neha Malla 🇳🇵 - Fighting for basic health care & nutrition


Listen to Neha Malla just below or on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.


🎤 “I came across a man in one of the villages. He had brought his 3-year old son to the health post where I was doing my routine inspection. He carried his son on foot and walked for more than 1,5 hours, just to get a small band-aid on his son’s head because he had a wound. You know, he was only wearing basic sandals, it was really hot, and the child was bleeding on his forehead. So all these scenes made me realize the social injustice and the level of disparities we have in our country”.

🇳🇵 Neha Malla is a health & nutrition activist on a mission to bring basic health care services to the furthest behind in Nepal and strengthen their nutrition status. She is passionate about primary health care, maternal-child health and nutrition and co-founded SOCHAI in 2016, which has been recognised internationally by UNICEF and One Young World.


👩‍👧 We go through the birth of SOCHAI, how the initial team with Bonita Sharma, Manjita Sharma and Aasutosh Dhoj Karki took action by creating the “Nutribeads Bracelet”, a low-tech product for pregnant women that informs about how to feed a child in the first 2 years of their life, and then how they scaled from this first product to support women, children, girls and families reach their full potential in life by improving their health and breaking the vicious intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.


💪 Neha shares her eye-opening moments travelling to all the provinces of Nepal in the wake of the 2015 Earthquake, where she observes the lack of basic health services and infrastructure. We discuss why it’s important for her to have a very strong and transparent team, what are the small moments that helped her discover her true purpose and make SOCHAI succeed!


😇 SOCHAI (Social Changemakers and Innovators) is a social enterprise that combines low cost, low tech innovative product and services to tackle the health and nutrition issues at ground level.


❤️ TIMELINE:

4’ - A bracelet to improve child nutrition and development

18’ - Observing the lack of basic health services in rural areas of Nepal

30’ - A lifetime passion to be involved in the health sector

38’ - Having a strong team that values open communication and transparency

42’ - Understand the problem and speak to your customers!

48’ - Reaching the furthest behind by collaborating with youth, schools, local health workers, development agencies and government

67’ - Go fast, go alone. Go far, go with a team!


🎤 “In the community, I met a mother with triplets 10 days after the earthquake took place. Her house had collapsed completely from the ground and they were living in a tin shed on an open field. 9 of her family members were cramped inside that tin shed. There were no proper resources for her to feed herself and she was not able to breastfeed her infants properly as well. So as I was observing the triplets, I saw that her children were showing some early signs of stunting - their head, their neck and their eyes were drooping. The children were showing early signs of malnutrition, and that's when I talked to the mother: she had no idea that she needs to exclusively breastfeed her children for the first 6 months. She had started feeding them milk and formula 3 months after their birth because she was not producing enough milk for all 3 kids. These experiences just moved me to the core. That's why I got even more connected to my dream and goal of doing something in the health sector, was so driven and, you know, had this internal passion and force from within me that, yeah, I need to do this and this is what I want to change”.

🗒️ References:

Please order SOCHAI’s bracelets or know more about their projects.

Connect with Neha on LinkedIn.


🎧 Where to listen?

YouTube.

Apple Podcasts.

Spotify.

Google Podcasts.

Deezer.


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