Maternal Health is a issue of women’s human right, is an issue of social inequity as it is faced by the most marginal communities and women in vulnerable situations that kills women on a grand scale. Maternal mortality is also the one-point and the most visible indicator on the quality of primary health services, and poor health systems.
As per SRS (2010-12), Madhya Pradesh reports shocking MMR of 230 per 1000 live births that explains the vulnerability of maternal health or women’s health on several counts. However, govt. has invested thousands of crores of rupees in NRHM to improve maternal mortality. Despite the efforts from govt. we have failed to achieve the target of reducing maternal mortality, set by MDG.
Maternal Health Rights Campaign (MHRC) aims to ensure government’s responsibility for maternal health services, discrimination free access to health services for the women of marginalised sections, monitoring the quality of maternal health services, influencing the policy level issues through advocacy. Maternal Health Rights Campaign (MHRC) was formed as state wide network in 2013. MHRC is actively present across 18 districts of Madhya Pradesh. Working since past two years MHRC has taken various steps to improve the condition of maternal health like capacity building of partner organization and community leaders, community based montoring, discussion with health care providers at various level, Jansamwad and various ICT products and use of media for advocacy.
In the 1st series of COPASAH workshop on “Using ICT for Social accountability” in Bhopal, MP, MHRC has learned the use of ICT and finally they have developed innovative ICT products like the photo story, video/audio recording and photographs for evidence generation by using camera and mobile phone. They themselves did the recording and took the photographs on poor quality of services, violations of health rights, denial of healthcare services etc. MHRC also incorporated ICT in Jansunwai that was very effective. The three districts who were involved in Jansamwad were Seoher, Morena and Chhindwara with the support from NGOs SATHIYA, Dharti Sanstha and Satykaam Jankalyan Samittee respectively.
MHRC also faced a lot of challenges while using ICT. Communities were not very comfortable in front of camera while explaining the situation because of the fear from govt. officials. Using camera during VHND process was a very challenging task. They also faced several risks with the community after dissemination of the information provided by them. The inclusion of the community in whole ICT process as they were not very comfortable in revealing the truth was also a great challenge that they faced. In addition to that some more challenges that they faced were lack of new technologies, limited time and resources, collection of the evidence etc.
While using ICT, MHRC learned many may important issues like they got a new medium to communicate with health care providers, identification of issues among urban community, Monitoring through ICT, understanding the influence of private sector in urban health system etc.
By Deepak Kumar