History & Mission
WRA India was launched in 1999 when the Center for Catalyzing Change (formerly known as CEDPA), brought together a group of individuals and organizations to advocate for safe motherhood in India. Our vision is an India where all women and girls realize their right to quality health and wellbeing. Our mission is to activate a people-led movement for reproductive, maternal and newborn health and rights. WRA India is a movement of individuals, organizations and communities that builds alliances, strengthens capacity, influences policies, harnesses resources, inspires volunteerism and motivates action to protect the lives of women and newborns throughout India.
India remains one of the most high-risk places in the world to give birth, accounting for almost 12% of total maternal deaths worldwide. Annually, over 35,000 women die in India of maternal causes, despite over 80% delivering in health facilities. Almost all these deaths are preventable, suggesting that quality of care needs attention at multiple levels. India has seen progress around maternal health in recent years but the rush to bring women to facilities has grown without investing enough on the experience they have once they are there.
To reduce needless deaths in pregnancy and childbirth, WRA India is working with communities to demand their rights to Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) and ensuring health systems are equipped to be supportive of health workers to provide RMC as standard practice.
Respectful Maternity Care
WRA India is working with communities, healthcare providers and health system to incorporate Respectful Maternity Care standards and drive system-wide change.
- At the community level, WRA India is working with communities to demand for and deliver Respectful Maternity Care, through gathering evidence to highlight the lack of RMC in policies and protocols and denial of RMC at the point of care.
- In addition to these efforts, WRA India, in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research, is conducting qualitative research to understand providers’ perspectives on disrespect and abuse in healthcare facilities.
- In partnership with the Government of India, WRA India is supporting the incorporation of the updated Respectful Maternity Care Charter in the LaQshya program, targeting 12 facilities in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Orissa and Chhattisgarh states. As of January 2020, WRA India has trained a total of 372 providers (142 in Rajasthan and 236 in Orissa), with trainings expected to take place in West Bengal and Chhattisgarh in early 2020.
Advocacy for Midwifery
Recently, WRA India launched the Midwives for Mothers Campaign to advocate for a cadre of Nurse Practitioners in Midwifery. The campaign seeks to sensitize people towards midwifery care through videos and narratives of women who have delivered with the help of midwifes. The campaign aims to create awareness about the Global Revolution that Midwives are set to bring in the Health System, while highlighting Indian Governments step to introduce Midwifery Care in the country.
Respectful and Dignified Care:
In 2019, WRA India’s work to ensure dignified care for all continued when the Government of India tasked WRA India with drawing up recommendations to strengthen engagement of communities, families and women for improved maternal health outcomes as part of a select group developing a new umbrella national scheme for assured access to safe delivery by all women in India.
WRA India has been successfully advocating for respectful maternity care (RMC) as a basic human right since 2015 and has successfully embedded RMC into India’s maternal health landscape through sustained advocacy. One of WRA India’s major policy successes has been the support of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to integrate RMC into LaQshya in 2018 – a labor room quality improvement initiative that now reaches millions of women across India.
What Women Want
In 2017, WRA India engaged nearly 150,000 women across the country in the Hamara Swasthya, Hamari Awaz (“My Health, My Voice”) campaign, reaching out to women across India to ask their one wish which would improve reproductive and maternal health in the country. The campaign gave a voice to some of the most marginalized women and inspired global scale up, in the renamed “What Women Want” Campaign.
As part of the global What Women Want campaign, White Ribbon Alliance India and its state alliances and members mobilized 350,696 responses through the tireless efforts of committed volunteers asking about and amplifying the needs of women in their communities and schools, finding that the demand for more competent and better-supported doctors, improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and free and affordable services and supplies in public health facilities were among the top responses from India’s women and girls.
Call to Action
Quality maternal health services available at all health facilities
WRA India News
SAFE HANDS: The West Bengal chapter of WRA India distributed hand sanitizer among police, medical staffs, mothers and more on National Safe Motherhood Day in Kolkata.
MENTOR VISIT: Under the LaQshya Initiative, mentors visit healthcare facilities in Rajasthan and Orissa and train providers in Respectful Maternity Care.
RESPECTFUL MATERNITY CARE: Over 80 participants attended the hands-on training over two days, showing the hospital’s commitment to giving mothers and their newborns the respectful care they deserve from all levels.
WHAT WOMEN WANT: WRA India’s groundbreaking campaign, Hamara Swasthya, Hamari Awaz – the inspiration for the global What Women Want campaign – took to clinics, communities and everywhere in between to find out women’s top priority for maternal health care. One woman shares her request.
HAMARA SWASTHYA HAMARI AWAAZ: The global What Women Want campaign built upon WRA India’s campaign called Hamara Swasthya Hamari Awaaz, or "Our Health, Our Voice.” The campaign set out to transform government guidelines into the quality services that women say they want and need.
Thank you to our partners
World Vision India
Plan International (India Chapter)
The Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (IAPPD)
Family Planning Association of India (FPAI)
Centre for Catalyzing Change
CHETNA as SuMa Secretariat