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Citizen-led Accountability

Respectful Maternity Care

Quality of Care

Birth Preparedness

Birth Complication Readiness

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 a country where the right of all women to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth is upheld. Our mission is to inspire and convene advocates who uphold the right of all women to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth. 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.

Challenge
India remains one of the most high-risk places in the world to give birth, accounting for 15% of total maternal deaths worldwide. Annually, over 44,000 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.

Solution
The best way to continue decreasing India’s maternal mortality rate is to focus on realizing women’s rights for quality, respectful healthcare.

Current Campaigns
WRA India’s most recent campaign is called Hamara Swasthya, Hamari Awaaz’ meaning My Health, My Voice. Also referred to as What Women Want, the campaign reached out to women across India to understand what quality maternal healthcare meant to them. The women were asked to list one wish which would improve reproductive and maternal health in the country. The response was monumental with more than 150,000 women from all over the country voicing their opinions. Thirty-six percent (36%) asked for access to maternal health entitlements, services and supplies, followed by 23% women who wanted services provided with dignity and respect, 20% seek readily available health providers and 16% want clean and hygienic health facilities. By asking the simple yet profound question of what it is that women want for quality reproductive and maternal care, WRA India is now taking these findings to policy makers, amplifying their voices and finding ways to realize their demand for respectful, quality health care.

Significant milestones

Responses from more than 150,000 women across the country were presented to the National Health Minister on National Safe Motherhood Day 2017, resulting in his promise for a strengthened feedback mechanism for women to submit their concerns and further action to address them.

Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness (BPCR) : The Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness (BP/CR) Campaign combined advocacy, communication and community mobilization strategies to mobilize communities, engage safe motherhood advocates and enhance demand for maternal, newborn and child health services. WRA India has developed flipbooks to educate community, family and women and conducted formative research that indicated BPCR as vital tool in reducing three delays and saving lives.

Our Impact

  • After intense lobbying with the Government of India, April 11 was declared and launched as National Safe Motherhood Day in 2003. Since then, every year a theme is selected and campaigns are carried across the country to mark the day and continue delivering progress for women and children.
  • In collaboration with the government, WRA India improved existing regulations to allow for a larger pool of qualified health workers trained in key procedures. Now tens of thousands of auxiliary nurse midwives provide life-saving treatments, keeping women alive in India’s half million villages.
  • Launched a pilot, Mobile Monitor for Quality of Maternal Care (MoM-QC), with support from Merck for Mothers. Results showed huge potential for a free phone service that uses interactive voice response technology to educate women on the quality of care they should expect from health providers, inform women about available health programs and services, enable women to anonymously rate the quality of care they received, and empower women to make more informed decisions about their health and health care.
  • Pioneered “watch dog” activities including checklists at facilities and organizing more than 100 public hearings involving tens of thousands of citizens sharing experiences about health services, making women’s voices heard then working with health staff and other government officials to improve services.
  • Through supporting events such as the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy music night, The Human Chain and Musical Show, we reached thousands of young people from across the country, inspiring them to join our movement as young safe motherhood advocates.
  • Created a platform for key influencers, such as members of the media, government officials, youth, political leaders and public personalities, to talk about maternal health, seek solutions and become champions for change. Our champions include Shabana Azmi, Raveena Tandon Thadani, Pooja Bedi, Shubha Mudgal, Shivani Wazir Pasrich, and others, who have used their public persona to champion the cause of Safe Motherhood.
  • In 2001, several thousand people, including leading parliamentarians, film stars, and ministers marched to the Taj Mahal in Agra, drawing world-wide attention and catalyzing action to prevent maternal deaths in India and around the world.

Call to Action
Quality maternal health services available at all health facilities

WRA India News

  • India Matters: Respectful Maternity Care
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  • Allow birth companions in labour room, P...
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  • “What Women Want” in Childbirth
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  • Govt Committed to Ensuring Maternal, Chi...
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  • Mobile App for MPs to Track Maternal Hea...
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    MORE

Gallery

EMPOWERING WOMEN: A woman learning about family planning.

FAMILY SUPPORT: A family commits to ensuring safe motherhood by putting a White Ribbon on a woman.

SINGING FOR SAFE MOTHERHOOD: Veteran Singer Shubha Mudgal during a WRA India Safe Motherhood Concert.

NO MORE MATERNAL DEATHS: Students make a human chain on National Safe Motherhood Day to highlight the needless deaths.

NO MORE MATERNAL DEATHS: Students make a human chain on National Safe Motherhood Day to highlight the needless deaths.

WORKING WITH CHAMPIONS: WRA India Champion and Actor Raveena Tandon making a pledge to promote safe motherhood in India during International Women’s Day.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Women during the 140,000 women survey about what mothers want for quality of maternal healthcare.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Women during the 140,000 women survey about what mothers want improved with regards to the quality of maternal healthcare.

140,000 WOMEN SURVEY. Statement by Indian mothers stating what they want improved with regards to the quality of maternal healthcare.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: WRA West Bengal holds a community dialogue to understand the barriers in seeking quality maternal health services.

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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

My HEART

CHETNA as SuMa Secretariat

Contact Us

Dr. Aparajita Gogoi, PhD

National Coordinator, WRA India

Dr. Aparajita Gogoi is the National Coordinator of WRA India. She is the executive director of the NGO Center for Catalyzing Change (C3, formerly CEDPA India). Aparajita is a political scientist with 25 years of experience in programming, advocacy and defining strategies for policy issues, especially on young people’s health and rights. She is passionate about women’s health issues and has been an advocate for safe motherhood, firmly believing that surviving childbirth is a fundamental right of every woman.  Aparajita has been leading WRA India’s advocacy for safe motherhood for the last 16 years. She has also been involved in safe motherhood advocacy in Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.  She has received recognition for her work in various forums, including by The Guardian, which in 2011 named Aparajita as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring women.

She holds a PhD (International Politics), from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and a Post graduate diploma in Journalism.

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Dr. Aparajita Gogoi, PhD

National Coordinator, WRA India

agogoi@whiteribbonalliance.org

+91 11 474 88888

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