MacArthur Foundation has awarded three grants totaling $800,000 to help reduce maternal mortality and improve young peoples access to information and services about reproductive and sexual health and rights in India.

"Reducing maternal mortality not only saves women's lives, it increases the general quality of care and information they receive before becoming pregnant. Improving the information that young people have about reproductive and sexual health and rights will help them make responsible choices. Both will help slow the overall population growth," said Jonathan Fanton, President of the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation.

A grant of $300,000 over three years was awarded to the Anusandhan Trust/Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes, based in Mumbai, India, to help nongovernmental organizations working on issues of maternal mortality and morbidity and young peoples reproductive health and rights learn new techniques for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of their work. Grant funds will be used by Anusandhan Trust/CEHAT to develop project plans with each organization, provide the technical assistance to carry out the plans, and help analyze data and prepare documentation about results. Up to 20 organizations will be selected to participate.

MAMTA-Institute for Mother and Child in Delhi, India, received a grant of $300,000 over three years for a project to help prevent early marriage and teen pregnancy in the state of Rajasthan. Interventions will focus on four districts in the state where the median age of marriage is one of the lowest in the country and teen pregnancy rates are high. MAMTA will use grant funds to design and carry out work within communities to help combat  social and cultural myths and beliefs that lead to early marriage and teen pregnancy. The program will also help train community health workers about young peoples sexual health, help schools design appropriate materials on the topic, and educate state officials about laws and policies designed to prevent early marriage and early childbearing. To help draw more attention to the topic, MAMTA will establish a resource center to  provide information about  problems that arise as a result of early marriage and early childbearing.

Ipas, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has received a grant of $250,000 over two years for a program to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in the state of Maharashtra by increasing access to safe abortion care. Grant funds will help provide technical support to four institutions to provide Comprehensive Abortion Care training to public sector doctors, and to two organizations for training doctors in private practice. Funds will also be used to develop a training-of-trainers program at select medical colleges in the state on new abortion procedures, including medical abortion, and for follow up work at rural hospitals and primary health centers that have been providing abortion care to ensure services remain adequate. Through a pilot program called Medical Abortion Network, Ipas also will help integrate medical abortion into services at private practices.

Population & Reproductive Health, Health, India, Population