In a move to enable better access to health and nutrition services to women, children and adolescents, Cairn India in collaboration with Centre for Health Education Training and Nutrition Awareness(CHETNA) has undertaken the PAHONCH project.
The project is supporting the Government of Gujarat in its efforts to reduce maternal deaths. Cairn India and CHETNA have been implementing the PAHONCH campaign in 73 villages across three districts (Rajkot, Morbi and Jamnagar) reaching out to a population of more than 1.2 lakh in the state.So far the campaign successfully reached out to 591 pregnant women and nursing mothers and 148 service providers.
The project aims to sensitize communities on women’s right to quality healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth. The project ensures commitments from key decision makers and stakeholders for providing quality maternal care to all women.
Despite long-term efforts to reduce maternal mortality, World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that out of 536,000 maternal deaths occurring globally each year, 136,000 take place in India. The state of Gujarat has made significant efforts in reducing maternal mortality rate (MMR) but still remains far behind the national average when it comes to a significant decline in MMR. The state registered a decline of 23.75 percent in MMR whereas the national decline, during the same period, was 29.9 percent. Between 2004-06, the MMR was 160, while the same during 2010-12 was 122 for the state.
“Village campaigns provided platform to women, their family members to share their experiences of availing the antenatal care (ANC) Delivery/childbirth and postnatal care (PNC) services from the public health institutions and nutrition services,” said Minaxi Sinha, Additional Director, CHETNA.
“We need to make continuous efforts to make women feel confident of demanding and receiving high-quality, non-judgmental, non-discriminatory, quality maternal care from the state. It is equally important to look at women’s health needs at every stage of her life cycle in a comprehensive and continuum care approach.”
The PAHONCH project undertakes several activities to strengthen the maternal and child health services such as creating community awareness around breastfeeding and nutrition, counselling, supporting nurses and ASHA worker. The project organises joint trainings, review and planning meetings among ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services Scheme) and health functionaries for strengthening services by coordinating, linking and supporting at village, block level and district level.
To strengthen and promote the campaign at the village level, Cairn India with the support of CHETNA organised regional consultation at Rajkot, where women shared their need to be able to access quality and respectful maternal health services. This later culminated into a Women’s Charter of Demands submitted to Chief District Health Officer (CDHO) of three districts, soliciting commitment from the health department to ensure quality maternal health care.
In rural India, access to healthcare, specifically during delivery remains an issue. The Cairn India team strives to enhance the social status of rural women in its operational areas and have been consistently working towards initiating programmes and regular mentoring for their overall socio-economic enhancement.