Mera Swasthya Meri Awaaz (My Health My Voice) An Initiative to map informal fees in government health facilities.
Although maternal mortality has declined in India in recent years, the rate of maternal deaths remains unacceptably high in many parts of the country. The Government of India has made efforts to protect and fulfill the right to health of its citizens and improve access to maternal health services. According to policy, most maternal health services in public health facilities are free for women in India, especially if they are from states that have high maternal mortality such as Uttar Pradesh. The project strengthens the monitoring work already being done and is being used to hold the government accountable. Since its launch in January 2012, there have been over 700 complaints recorded. The data generated has been used to advocate with health officials at the district and sub district levels to stop the practice of informal fees. Yet, throughout the country, w o m e n w h o a p p r o a c h government health facilities are charged informal fees for products and services meant to be free of charge. This puts an incredible burden on poor women and their families and acts as a barrier to accessing services. The problem is rampant and does not seem to be improving with the established accountability mechanisms currently built into the health system. Citizen groups throughout India are engaged in processes and direct actions to improve maternal health and to h o l d t h e i r g o v e r n m e n t accountable. In Uttar Pradesh, SAHAYOG and its partners have been working with a grassroots women‘s organization of over 11,000 marginalised women across 10 districts of Uttar Pradesh (called the Women‘s Health Rights Forum or MSAM) to engage in citizen monitoring of the provisions by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM, 2005-2012).
Mera Swasthya Meri Awaaz (My Health My Voice)
An Initiative to map informal fees in government health facilities