Assam maternity care

Assam Strengthens Access To Quality Maternal Care

While Assam has made great sides in bringing down maternal mortality in the state, it still has the highest Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in the country. It is also much higher than the country average – 215 in comparison to 113

May 1, 2021

A quality improvement and certification programme, run by the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), is helping to ensure quality maternal care in Assam.

The initiative, called Manyata, is leveraging digital platforms to train healthcare staff on 16 clinical standards of quality maternal care, addressing the access gap to ensure that safe and respectful care is available to mothers and newborns in the remotest corners of the state.

Speaking about the need to champion digital interventions to address gaps in healthcare, Dr Hema Divakar, National Convenor, Manyata, said, “At the heart of the Manyata initiative is the commitment to ensure every mother, no matter where she seeks care, is able to access the highest standards of quality and respectful care."

"But given the challenges of access and capacity in India’s hard-to-reach areas, particularly in Assam, this won’t be possible without leveraging digital platforms as a core enabling factor," Dr Hema added.

"We have also received immense support from ARTIST as an implementation partner through the Bengaluru Center of Skills Enhancement (CSE), has enabled in escalating the initiative to new states through the digital platform," she further said.

"It would take years to build the infrastructure that Assam needs to provide quality care to all women, but with just a good internet connection, we can build capacity for healthcare staff to provide high-quality care to mothers and newborns now – so they don’t have to wait," she further said.

While Assam has made great sides in bringing down maternal mortality in the state, it still has the highest Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in the country.

It is also much higher than the country average – 215 in comparison to 113.

Given the state’s unique difficulties in terms of terrain, roads, infrastructure, and inaccessibility to quality healthcare, Manyata’s innovative digital training and certification model is working to ensure that these constraints do not hamper access to and delivery of quality maternal care for women in the state.

Dr Arun Baruah, the owner of one of the first Manyata-certified facilities in Assam, talked about the transformative impact of the training on his staff.

The Manyata training has been invaluable in helping my staff to adhere to intrapartum and postpartum protocols that are essential for a positive birthing experience for mothers," he said.

"Not only that, they are now able to deal with complications and emergencies by themselves," he added.

"Manyata has been a boon for us particularly in the face of challenges posed by COVID-19," he further said.

"It is a huge value-add for maternal care facilities in Assam, and I look forward to more and more hospitals joining the quality care movement in the state and becoming Manyata-certified facilities," he added

FOGSI, the force behind the Manyata initiative, is committed to scaling quality maternal care in every corner of the country.

For instance, Manyata is already present in Goalpara, which is one of the districts covered under Niti Aayog’s Aspirational Districts program.

Speaking about this ambitious goal, Dr Hrishikesh Pai, Gynecologist - Chief Administrator of the National Program Management Unit at FOGSI, said, “From 3 states in 2017, Manyata is now present in 14 states. But our aim is to make sure that all 28 states are covered under Manyata. FOGSI is working relentlessly to ensure that we meet this goal in the coming years.”

“The National Program Management Unit at FOGSI has been relentlessly committed in its quest to make sure that even women in the remotest corners of Assam and the country have access to quality maternal care," said Dr Samita Bharadwaj, National Programme Manager at NPMU.

"We are coordinating with hundreds of assessors and facilities every day to ensure that the assessment and certification process is facilitated efficiently and an increasing number of hospitals are able to benefit from Manyata training,” she added.

At a time where the COVID-19 pandemic has further necessitated the urgent need to improve maternal health outcomes in the country, particularly for underserved communities in hard-to-reach areas, Manyata is wielding the power of digital interventions to complement the Indian government’s Universal Health Coverage ambitions and its goal to meet the SDG 3.1 goal of reducing maternal mortality to 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

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