Nazdeek, PAJHRA and ICAAD released No Time to Lose: Fighting Maternal and Infant Mortality through Community Reporting. The report brings to light the obstacles faced by Adivasi women in obtaining maternal health care in Assam – a state with the highest maternal mortality rate in India.No Time to Lose reports on India's first attempt to collect and map cases of maternal and infant health violations reported by women living in tea gardens through SMS technology. The report is the culmination of the End MM Now Project, which fuses legal empowerment, community monitoring and technology.
Based on nearly 70 cases reported by participating community members, the report offers tangible recommendations for local (block and district) level health authorities and tea garden management to improve service delivery, and ultimately save the lives of mothers and their babies.
"For the first time, civil society in Assam can rely on solid data on the lack of access to maternal health services. Thanks to this data, we have formulated key recommendations to curb the appalling number of maternal deaths among Adivasi women." – Barnabas Kindo, PAJHRA.
The report has been well received by district authorities in Sonitpur, including Deputy Commissioner, Sonitpur, Shri. Lalit Gogoi, District Joint Health Services Director, NHM Sonitpur, Dr. M. H. Saikia and Medical Inspector of Plantations, Dr. P.K. Lahkar. In a meeting with Project participants on Tuesday 17th February, Shri. Gogoi praised the initiative and promised to submit the findings and recommendations of the Report to higher-level authorities. Dr. Lakhar further stressed that lack of adequate infrastructure in the tea gardens was a major barrier in accessing health services.
No Time to Lose identified a significant gap between patients and healthcare providers. In this regard, Dr. Saikia committed to establishing a Citizens Grievance Forum at the block level to address maternal health violations reported through the End MM Now system, with time-bound action from the state. "End MM Now has proven to be an invaluable platform for women to monitor and claim access to basic rights and entitlements. Community members have already noted initial positive changes in the delivery of health services", says Francesca Feruglio, from Nazdeek.
"Shaped by the idea of crowdsourcing, End MM Now maps and visualizes ground-level data, which is verified and made available to the public and the government. This way, the platform bridges an existing information gap and increases transparency in the delivery of health services." – Jaspreet K Singh, ICAAD.
Read more about the End MM Now project.