A former fashion designer, Asha Pabla remains actively involved with a number of nonprofit organizations, including the American India Foundation (AIF). Asha Pabla serves on AIF’s Board of Directors and is particularly interested in the organization’s Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI).
Through MANSI, AIF provides individuals in rural and impoverished parts of India with the tools they need to identify and manage illnesses related to maternal and infant health. The program also equips villages with sahiyas, or trained health care workers. High-risk cases are deferred to nearby health care facilities while other illnesses are treated in the community to teach individuals how to deal with similar problems in the future.
Since its inception, MANSI has had a major impact on the communities it serves. Newborn weight at birth has increased by nearly 100 percent and both infant and child mortality rates have decreased by more than 26 percent. The neonatal mortality rate is down by nearly one-third, and the number of pregnant women receiving medical attention has nearly doubled.
The states currently being served by MANSI include Uttarakhand, Odisha, and Jharkhand.