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Strengthening community-based healthcare services for underprivileged mothers and children in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra

Healthy, empowered women and children are at the center of strong families and the core of thriving communities. However, some mothers do not have proper access to healthcare support for themselves and their children.

In the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, the infant mortality rate is currently slated at 28, and the under five mortality rate is 36, both of which are higher than the state average. As per the NFHS4 data, only 3.1% of mothers received financial help under the Janani Suraksha Yojna in the district. It was also found that only 50% of mothers underwent Antenatal Care checkups in their first trimester, and 38% of mothers had four Antenatal Care visits.

To help address this gap, Johnson & Johnson has partnered with Humana People to People India, a not-for-profit oganizaion, to help build the capacity of Government Community Health Workers (CHWs), including Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANM), Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), and Anganwadi workers in the district. The project aims to enhance maternal and child health care service delivery and reduce mortality indicators in the district. The project will cover 100,000 people in nine villages though 100 Anganwadi centres and 10 health sub-centres around three Primary Health Centers (PHC) of Jikthan, Shendurwada, and Daulatabad in Aurangabad.

An assessment study conducted by Humana People to People India revealed that most of these villages are out of reach to receive services from the Primary Health Centre. Local health sub-centers are not adequately equipped to deliver quality Antenatal Care and Postnatal Care services. These PHCs lack an adequate number of ANMs, and Medical Officers required to provide regular Mother and Child health services.
The study also showed that community awareness around Govt. health schemes, maternal benefits and Anganwadis remains low. Poor health-seeking behavior often leads to less accessibility to the Govt. health facilities, resulting in incomplete antenatal care and postnatal care. Cases of anemia are high among mothers and children, and sanitation is a major issue in these villages.

The project utilizes professional resources and digital tools for enhancing the capacity of Community Health Workers. By developing the right skillsets, competencies, and technical knowledge, we hope that the Community Health Workers would be better positioned to bridge gaps in the service delivery and overcome operational challenges to improve institutional birth, complete antenatal care and postnatal care, and child immunization figures in the selected geography.

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