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INDIAN JOURNAL OF HEALTH STUDIES - Volume 3 Issue 2, July 2021

Pages: 35-54

Date of Publication: 31-Jul-2021

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Facilitating Gender Friendly Spaces around Maternal and Child Health Care

Author: Padma Akella

Category: Health Studies


Traditional health practices, lack of skilled care services and strong patriarchal norms in the families are preventing women from enjoying their Right to Health particularly the Reproductive health. Contextual need therefore is identification and address of root causes both at societal and systemic level. The paper presents experience of an action research done jointly by APMSS and Care India-AP. Implemented in 380 villages of 7 districts in combined AP State, it aimed to create women friendly spaces within the household by building social norms around reproductive health. Target families were those having pregnant women, lactating mothers and children of the age 7 months to 2 years. Implementation strategies were: Targeted interventions at family level for facilitating change in gender roles, Systemic/Institutional interventions to mainstream the change process, Community level interventions to sustain the momentum and to create enabling environment. Presence of strong women’s collective (Sangham) at village level taking responsibility of implementation was the core element. APMSS and Care India-AP extended resource support. Village level institutions (PRIs, AWC) supported Sanghams and actively participated in the programmes. Despite challenges, overall results were promising in breaking myths around maternal health and in bringing more men into the women and child care roles. Certain systemic practices like NH day were streamlined. The project demonstrated the need for participatory approaches in development as against welfare model, particularly in women’s health sector.

Keywords: Social support, Tangible support, Appraisal support, Belonging support, Early adults, Middle adults

DOI: 10.56490/IJHS.2021.3203