What does it take to save a life?

A familiar game

Pieces from Indian board game 'Snakes and Ladders.'

You’ve almost won the game of Snakes and Ladders, a traditional board game that’s a forerunner to Chutes and Ladders. But oh no, you don’t have a clean blade ready to cut the baby’s umbilical cord. Your child could be exposed to tetanus and other infections. The snake bites, and back you go to the beginning of the game.

There’s lots of laughter during mothers’ group meetings organized by PATH’s Sure Start project. But the assembled women are keenly aware that the game’s goal—a safe birth and a healthy baby—is their goal as well.

At mothers’ groups and home visits conducted by community health workers, women get the latest lifesaving information they need. Games, stories, role-playing dolls, and songs are an integral part of these lessons. The more ways information is shared, and the more engaged the women are, the more likely they are to set aside dangerous actions, embrace new behaviors, and make decisions that give their babies the best possible start.