Binod Sharma

Jennie Thomas Travel Grant Winner 2016

Area of Research

Binod Sharma's research area is reproductive medicine, with his doctoral thesis investigating pathways to improving maternal mortality in rural Nepal. 

Read more about Binod's research at:

My Jennie Thomas Travelling Scholarship Experience

The purpose of my Travel Grant was to organise necessary travel to Nepal to institute intervention research on safer pregnancy and childbirth. The goal of this research is to investigate whether the involvement of people within a community in the process of creating awareness through singing health messages can improve the level of maternal health care as well as knowledge of the need for maternal health care among community members.

I used the grant to travel from Newcastle, Australia, to Nepal and within the research area. The fund has been utilised for the interviewers to travel to undertake baseline survey and other necessary travels during the project. The fund will be used during intervention and post-intervention survey. The travel grant was also used to purchase a used off road motorcycle to minimise the cost of regular movement within intervention and control clusters (the motorcycle will be sold upon the completion of the field activities). With the help of this grant, I have been able to undertake the essential visits to national, regional and district level offices and people in the communities.

In this way, the Jennie Thomas Travel Grant has enabled me to undertake the intervention research project in rural villages of Nepal. The methodology used to create awareness on safer pregnancy and childbirth among community people has already had an enormous effect. In the process of creating awareness, the entire community was involved in developing health songs. We organized song competitions among the groups. Twenty six groups participated in the health song competition. The best songs developed by the community people (students, teachers, mothers’ group members, volunteers and adolescents) will be sung in the village environment from house to house. A group of teachers, who are expert in traditional singing, will be mobilised to create awareness through singing the winning health songs in the community.

The program enabled all the participating sub groups of the people to engage in development of the health songs with the key messages targeted to the community people. This process itself has created a deep sense of understanding and awareness amongst the groups on the theme. The mobilisation of local male teachers in singing health message in traditional lyrics will have an extraordinary effect in the community. The entire communities will not only benefit from the health messages but also be part of health advocacy in the future. The informed community mass will contribute to ensure safer pregnancy and childbirth in the villages. The risk of maternal death will be reduced remarkably as an outcome of the intervention and the adjoining village development committees and districts will be inspired and follow the lifesaving community-led interventions.

Beyond the Grant

Thank you so much Jennie, for all the resources and motivation to undertake such a timely project for mothers in rural Nepal. I am honoured to have been enabled to initiate such a fulfilling project.

My belief is that it is not acceptable that a mother has to sacrifice herself giving life. We are living in such an advanced era of medical advancement, but mothers are continuing to die at an unacceptable rate. I am so pleased that the Jennie Thomas Travel grant has enabled me to engage in creating informed groups of people to help save mothers. If we cannot help mothers celebrate their pregnancy and enjoy their motherhood, it is a shame on such a supposedly civilised and technologically advanced world.

I would like to dedicate my expertise for the benefit of rural people, mothers in particular. If I am enabled to give them a hope of life and security in their natural environment, empowering them for their benefit in a sustainable way, I would feel that my dreams have come true. I believe an empowered mother can give not only the healthy baby but also a bright future for her family, community and society as well. I am committed to making the difference to the lives of mothers in rural Nepal. My Ph.D. project is the key initiative towards my career plan. The travel grant has been a critical support in making the intervention research project possible. It's a timely example of intervention in rural Nepal. 

Loading the car to take to the intervention village

Unloading at the village

The group of adolescents presenting the health song during the competition

The group of teachers presenting the health song during the competition  

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