Total Awarded: $5,240,000
Duration: 2015 - present
Total Grants: 13
Geographic Focus: India
For more than 20 years, MacArthur has supported work to improve population and reproductive health (PRH) in India. Since then, India has made significant strides in maternal health, reducing its maternal mortality ratio from 556 to 174 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births from 1990 to 2015. Policies and initiatives to increase access to maternal health services largely account for this progress. However, maternal mortality and infant mortality rates remain high. These patterns indicate that further improvements in health care access are unlikely to generate significant improvements in maternal and newborn health outcomes. Instead, to accelerate reductions in morbidity and mortality rates, other factors—particularly maternal health quality of care—need to be addressed.
Within this context, the Foundation aims to support the shift in the maternal health field from a focus on increasing access to care to one on improving the quality of care. It is doing so through a three-and-a-half year maternal health quality of care strategy that marks the end of the Foundation’s support to the PRH field in India. In order to inform the implementation and evaluation of this strategy, the Foundation commissioned Mathematica Policy Research to conduct a landscape of the social, political, and environmental conditions that are currently influencing the delivery of quality maternal health care in India.
Evidence suggests that the quality of maternal health care varies across India. However, on average, it is low. The limitations of maternal health quality of care can be summarized as follows:
To address some of these deficiencies, donor investments, government prioritization, and an active civil society have intensified the focus on maternal health quality of care in recent years through a focus on the following three areas:
Research on these interventions has helped identify promising approaches to improving maternal health outcomes in India. However, the evidence is only emerging. As poor outcomes and inequities persist across India, opportunities remain to explore the way forward for maternal health quality of care and to generate further data on the best policies and practices for improving maternal health outcomes. Such efforts may represent the critical means through which India can significantly contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of reducing the global MMR to 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.
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