COPASAH’S THEMATIC HUB ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND ACCOUNTABILITY THE NEED TO STIMULATE COMMUNITY ACTION AND ACCOUNTABILITY: LEARNING EXCHANGE WORKSHOP ON COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
March 22-24, 2018 VishwaYuvak Kendra, New Delhi, India Anchor: CHSJ, India
The Need to Stimulate Community Action and Accountability in Reproductive Health Governance Maternal Health and subsequently Family Planning have emerged as important agendas of global health programming over the past two decades. In the years leading to the Millenium Development Goals, reduction of Maternal Death became a key indicator of improvements both of population level health as well as health systems. Multiple systems for promoting safe childbirth, as well as monitoring progress were established through mechanisms like the Partnership on Maternal Neonatal and Child Health (PMNCH) headquartered in WHO, Maternal Health Task force headquartered in Harvard University, the Countdown to 2015, the WHO Commission on Information and Accountability (CoIA) on Women and Children’s Health and the UN sponsored movement Every woman Every child. Similarly, access to contraception has received a boost through the Family Planning 2020 partnership which aims to expand access to family planning information, services, and supplies to an additional 120 million women and girls in 69 of the world’s poorest countries by 2020. In the SDG paradigm maternal health has lost its primacy but remains an important target along with family planning, within the Goal 3 on health and well-being.
As in the case of the MDGs, in the SDGs and FP2020 as well,the approach is based on the Government partnering with International agencies, philanthropies, business and large social service NGOs to delivery services. A large number of international agencies, bilateral donors and private philanthropies are providing funds and other support to governments to achieve the set targets. Many INGOs, Universities and in-country organizations are involved in a multitude of activities to bring about changes. The idea of accountability has been accepted, within the overall framework of evidence-based practice, and the need for data for monitoring progress is acknowledged. However the importance of involving the citizens or the communities who experience the services is still not universally seen as important. There is much greater emphasis on ‘fixing’ the inputs – eg. human resources and technological options and so on. The idea of involving citizens as the main stakeholders of this process is not being considered and consequently, the thrust on community engagement and ownership is not well articulated. The role of communities is seen as passive recipients and beneficiaries. However if the SDGs have to reach the last mile and include the most marginalized, this approach which appears mostly based on a concept of ‘stewardship’ may not be enough. A more comprehensive approach to development must note ignore the stake that communities themselves have in the designing, delivery and monitoring of health programs. COPASAH’s Maternal and Reproductive Health Hub looks to fill this gap by engaging more vigorously in promoting the practice of social accountability in the field of reproductive health in different ways. It will do this through stimulating a conversation around the role of communities in reproductive health governance, especially around issues of autonomy and self-determination which are central to human rights and participation in governance which is essential to sustainability.
A core group of experts from across the globe have been identified to be a part of this hub, who will convene at a Round-table meeting in New Delhi on 22nd-24th March 2018, to: (1) Take stock of current knowledge and practice around community participation and accountability efforts in reproductive health globally, and in different regions. (2) Draw learnings for the practice of accountability and community participation, from grassroots efforts that have attempted to strengthen bottom-up accountability in reproductive health through involving communities. (3) Building on (1) and (2), propose future directions of work for the COPASAH RH hub around strengthening the practice of community participation and bottom-up accountability, building evidence on existing efforts and influencing global policy processes.
The meeting will be attended by experts and practitioners from countries of South Asia, Africa and Latin America regions.