Maternal Health and Rights
Addressing maternal health rights is one of the core areas of CHSJ’s work. Gathering evidence around gaps in programme implementation and policies related to maternal health, building alliances and people’s voices to claim rights and address the gaps are CHSJ’s primary tasks.
Securing Maternal Health Rights
- Nutritional Anaemia in Women and Girls – CHSJ conducted a short study in 2009-10 to understand the perceptions of different stakeholders and also co-organized a one day roundtable with CHETNA, ARROW and Academy of Nursing Studies in New Delhi to contribute to the process of building synergies around the issue of anaemia across various movements such as the women’s movement, health movement and Right to Food movement.
- CHSJ attended a national Civil Society Meeting with UN Special Rapporteur, Paul Hunt, on the Right to Health in 2007. Maternal mortality was the main focus of the interaction.
As a member of the National Alliance on Maternal Health (NAMHHR), CHSJ prepared an analysis of National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS) and Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) in state Programme Implementation Plans (PIP) for Bihar, UP, Rajasthan, Orissa, Chattisgarh Jharkhand, MP, Assam. We shared the results with members of NAMHHR. CHSJ also worked with NAMHHR to host a session in the Global Maternal Health Conference in New Delhi (August 2010).
Informed Choice and Quality of Care in Family Planning
ICPD emphasized the individual’s right to make informed choices on issues related to reproductive health. This is not only a matter of empowerment but it also highlights the rights-based approach where rights holders claim their rights from state. Quality of care is a crucial element in service delivery, meeting people’s health needs and ensuring their rights. CHSJ is addressing the issue of informed choice and poor quality of care in family planning services through evidence building and advocacy with the government.
- In association with HealthWatch Forum and its partners, CHSJ completed a study assessing the implementation of the Family Planning Insurance Scheme and Quality Assurance Plan for female sterilization operations in five states as part of the National Family Planning Programme. The report was distributed publicly in Delhi, shared with the Research and Standards Division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and presented at the 5th Asia Pacific Reproductive and Sexual Health Conference in Beijing. It was also published in the book, Reaching the Unreached, in 2009.
- As part of a follow-up study to understand the gaps in implementing the Family Planning Insurance Scheme of the Government of India, CHSJ filed an RTI and procured the list of claimants under the Family Planning Insurance Scheme. The cases were analysed and a short summary was submitted to Query on Solutions Exchange, an internet based information exchange platform coordinated through the UN system.
- A CHSJ intern, Farouk Muhammad Jega, from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine conducted a study on quality of care under Chiranjeevi Yojana in Gujarat in 2007.
In India, the right to safe abortion is imperative because the high number of unsafe abortions results in maternal morbidity and mortality and because abortion is misused for sex selection. Unsafe abortion is the cause of 8% of maternal deaths. CHSJ is concerned with these issues and is working to strengthen advocacy efforts to ensure women’s right to abortion in partnership with National Coalition on Safe Abortion (NACSA), Coalition for Maternal Neonatal Health and Safe Abortion (CMNHSA), ASAP, CEHAT and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF-SARO).
- CHSJ prepared a review paper titled, “In the Interests of Equality: An examination of the human rights and ethical dimensions of sex selective abortion in the context of public policy addressing skewed sex ratios” for International Development Research Center (IDRC) in 2010-11. The paper traces the developments on the issue of sex ratio changes and sex selective abortion in different countries as well as the rights discourse around it.
- Safe Abortion Advocacy – CHSJ supported CommonHealth: The Coalition for Maternal Neonatal Health and Safe Abortion partners in an advocacy campaign on safe abortion in three districts of Bihar (Muzzafurpur, Nawada and Patna) in 2009-2010. The campaign included mapping abortion services and women’s perceptions of abortion services in the respective areas. The findings of the mapping will be used to inform and educate communities and to advocate with district and state level health authorities.
- Safe & Legal Abortion in India: Every Woman’s Right - CHSJ also collaborated with CommonHealth to organize a workshop for media persons called “Safe & Legal Abortion in India: Every Woman’s Right” and to publish a set of four fact sheets on abortion rights in India.
- Multi-country abortion study with International Planned Parenthood Federation and trainings on access to safe abortion services – The South Asia Regional Office of IPPF is implementing a Global Abortion Care Project. As a part of this larger project IPPF is conducting a number of studies. In 2008-2009 CHSJ provided technical support in conducting one of these studies which is focused on Provider Attitudes to Abortion and Abortion Services in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Maldives. CHSJ also facilitated trainings on access to safe abortion services.
- Developing an Abortion Policy for FPA India – CHSJ provided technical support to FPA India, and assisted them in framing an institutional policy to address the issue of safe abortion in 2006-07.
- CHSJ collaborated with CMNHSA to organize a ten-day short course on Advocacy for Reproductive Health and Rights in 2006. CHSJ also collaborated with SAHAYOG and HealthWatch Forum to conduct a training on the same issues for organisations working in the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states.