Maternal and Child Health

Approximately two  million under-5 children die in India every year (UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report, 2007). This represents about one-fourth of the global burden of infant and child deaths. Adding to this, is the poor status of maternal mortality in India (over 100,000 women a year), which also accounts for almost one-fourth of the world’s maternal deaths.


India faces the enormous challenge of reducing infant mortality from 53 per 1000 live births to less than 30 and maternal mortality from 254 per 1,00,000 live births to less than 100 by 2015.


Towards a healthy family


Maternal and child health (MCH) is an integral part of our efforts. We have worked to strongly advocate and place on the national agenda the issue that children have a basic right to live, and live well, and that this right should be recognized by both, the family and the state.We emphasize on the care of the newborn, encouraging the adoption and strengthening of both, home-based (community-based) and facility-based services for maximum outreach.


Learning from national and international experience, we expanded our vision and adopted a lifecycle approach to Reproductive and Child Health (RCH), focusing on adolescents too, in addition to women and children.


At the national and state levels we-

  • Play a key advocacy role for MCH, deriving strength from the field
  • Undertake and support a large number of action research projects
  • Publish key analytical documents, highlighting MCH concerns, emphasizing the need for change based on hard evidence
  • Provide technical support to the government for strengthening its MCH initiatives including undertaking evaluations of  health programmes run by it. Evaluation of the Maternity Benefit Scheme (Janani Suraksha Yojana) in Jharkhand and Phase II of the nationwide behaviour change communication (BCC) campaign, under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) are two recent studies undertaken.


At the district and sub-district levels we-

  • Provide technical and financial support to civil society organizations for the implementation of MCH projects
  • Focus on strengthening monitoring mechanisms
  • Support pre-project surveys and post-project evaluations that focus on
    • the demographic impact of interventions and
    • the impact on the quality of healthcare.


Our field-level interventions are directed towards strengthening the delivery of health services as well as improving awareness and empowering women to adopt safe motherhood and childcare practices, primarily through capacity building and BCC.


We, through our partner organizations, have also been working towards improving male participation in MCH programmes and in empowering self-help groups (SHGs) to take on MCH activities. For we believe economic empowerment makes women effective decision-makers, especially for their own health and that of their children.


Important MCH indicators 


Current Status vs. Goals: 

  Current 12th Five Year Plan NPP2010 MDGs2015
IMR 49 (SRS 2012) 45 30
NMR 29 (SRS 2012) 26 20
MMR 212 (SRS 2007-2009) 200 100

IMR,NMR-per 1000 live births; MMR per 1,00,000 live births

Note: IMR – Infant Mortality Rate; NMR – Neonatal Mortality Rate;  MMR – Maternal Mortality Ratio, SRS – Sample Registration Survey; NPP – National Population Policy;  MDG – Millennium Development Goals

Generation of evidence and development of guidelines to strengthen comprehensive maternity management system

 Photo by- Sunita Singh/PFI


Partner/Implementing Organization
Foundation for Research in Community Health, Pune

Population and area

Project period
May 2012 – March 2014

Demonstration of a comprehensive maternity management system with a focus on development of guidelines


The project in its pilot phase would aim at


  • Generation of evidence for development, modification or adaptation of guidelines for a comprehensive maternity management system
  • Demonstrate the value of guideline adaptation in achieving good outcomes through case studies, both regional and national
  • Explore perspectives of guidelines among multiple health providers in the three implementation states
  • Select areas for guideline implementation in the selected states for the next phase of the project

Ensuring Reproductive Rights of Women

Photo by -Sunita Singh/PFI


Partner/Implementing Organization
SUTRA (Social Uplift Through Rural Action)

Population and area
300 gram panchayats in five districts of Himachal Pradesh - Kangra, Mandi, Sirmaur, Solan and Una.

Project period
May 1, 2012 – April 30, 2015

Ensure reproductive rights of the people to achieve improved reproductive health and sex ratio at birth, and increased adoption of non-terminal methods of family planning.


  • Create ownership of the issue at the community level through organizations like Mahila Mandals, Ekal Nari Shakti Sangthan and Self Help Groups
  • Promote change in the health-seeking behaviour in the context of RTI/STIs
  • Increase women’s access to information on reproductive and sexual rights, enabling them to choose methods for spacing or limiting family size
  • Monitor public institutions like government health facilities, anganwadi centres to ensure necessary support and services
  • Create larger forums in the form of Mahila Gram Sabha to address gender discrimination and promote gender equality