The Government of India, through its many initiatives, has reiterated its commitment to improving reproductive maternal, newborn, child and adolescent (RMNCH+A) health services especially among vulnerable groups. Both the National Rural Livelihoods Mission and National Health Mission are focused on achieving universal access to equitable, affordable, and quality healthcare services that are accountable and responsive to people’s needs both in rural and urban areas. Elected representatives have the power to act as catalysts to transform health seeking behaviour in communities, by improving the quality of and access to health and nutrition services. Leveraging their influence guarantees successful implementation of government schemes and programs.
Global Health Strategies designed and implemented a comprehensive and multi-pronged strategy to create a conducive political and policy environment for improved awareness, access, and acceptance of RMNCH+A and nutrition services, aimed at better health outcomes and reduced malnutrition levels for women and children in Uttar Pradesh (UP). As part of this strategy, GHS identified and engaged key stakeholders, such as policymakers, elected representatives, relevant government officials, media decision-makers, and influential civil society members, to accelerate progress toward prioritizing health and nutrition issues. A salient component was a community-based engagement and leadership development (CELD) initiative that engaged and sensitized leaders at the grassroots level on strengthening village level platforms for enhancing access to health and nutrition services. This initiate informed a total of 487 champions comprising Gram Pradhans, religious leaders, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs), and significantly contributed to build an environment conducive to enhanced services at the village level for improved health and nutrition outcomes. Finally, GHS created a photobook that spotlights the stories of change from the CELD initiative.
This photobook profiles select Gram Pradhans and religious leaders who were a part of the Community Engagement and Leadership Development initiative of the RMNCH+A project in Uttar Pradesh. This model was instrumental in strengthening village health services – especially those related to reproductive and maternal health. Stories of change – both personal and community based – have been captured in this photobook which was launched by the Hon’ble Health Minister of UP, Mr. Jai Pratap Singh, in August 2020.