FOGSI (The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India) in partnership with MSD for Mothers, MacArthur Foundation and Jhpiego (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University), today launched Manyata – a nationwide movement urging the need for quality care for mothers during and immediately after childbirth when risks of life-threatening complications are the highest. The movement was flagged off by Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty and Pankaja Munde, Minister of Rural Development, Women and Child Welfare, Government of Maharashtra.
Nearly 45,000 women die in India every year during childbirth due to reasons entirely preventable. The movement is based on the premise that culturally in India, pregnancies tend to be focused more about babies than about mothers. A mother’s health is critical and equally precious as her child’s health and her well-being, our collective responsibility.
Manyata calls for bringing all stakeholders together and raising awareness about the fact that mothers are as important as their babies. She need tools that empower her to make informed choices about where she seeks care during pregnancy, as minimum quality care is her basic right. #DontForgetMoms
As a step forward, the movement has already begun targeting private maternity providers to adopt recognized standards for excellence in maternity services and urges all stakeholders to build an ecosystem that supports and centers around quality maternal care. FOGSI, MSD for Mothers and Jhpiego have begun educating, and building capacities of private maternity providers (where 40 percent of women in India choose to go for their deliveries) on ground to adopt and adhere to FOGSI’s carefully-selected set of evidence-based criteria based on WHO guidelines. Among other things, these include clinical procedures of managing care during labour, delivery and the immediate postpartum period. Based on rigorous assessment, the prestigious Manyata certification will be awarded to those facilities that meet these standards. Currently available to providers in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, the initiative will be rolled out nationally over time. These efforts are being made so that every expecting women can demand a Manyata standard of care for herself.
Pankaja Munde, Minister of Rural Development, Women and Child Welfare, said, “It is now high time that we put the focus back on women, their needs, their health especially when they are expecting. Manyata should not just be limited to private hospitals, but we should work towards implementing this in all public hospitals across India.”
Speaking on the initiative, Shilpa Shetty said, “It is time that the society also cared as much about the health and well-being of mothers during childbirth, as the baby she brings to this world. Being a mother, I would love to see everyone coming together to join the movement and urge all expecting mothers to insist on quality care for herself. In popular culture, women are hailed as symbols of sacrifice and conditioned to think that they are second to their children and spouse. This is entirely a false perception. We must demand the very best care for ourselves especially when it comes to motherhood. Caregivers must also give equal attention to mothers as much as their babies,” she added.
As part of the initiative, FOGSI will mentor a network of trained volunteers who will help facilities improve and sustain stronger skill sets as well as facilitate exchange of experiences. Dr. Hema Divakar, National Convenor, Manyata and Former FOGSI President, said “Manyata is not just a promise to expecting women for quality care, it is a reality. It is FOGSI’s approval recognizing those who consistently deliver quality care during pregnancy and childbirth knowing that better, safer and respectful care will reach mothers. FOGSI’s clarion call through Manyata is to engage as many providers as we possibly can so that no mother dies giving life. It is a direction to our community of doctors that we must do whatever we can because she matters. We must remember never to forget moms. We must empower her. The time is right. The time is now.”
Feeling hopeful that this movement is a step in the right direction, Dr. Rishma Pai, FOGSI President, added, “Supporting quality improvement initiatives in private facilities will motivate peers to join the quality movement. After all, be it the public or private hospital, every mother deserves the best care wherever she chooses to go, because ‘She Matters’”
MSD for Mothers, a key partner in this initiative, felt that Manyata augments the Government’s efforts to work towards reducing maternal mortality in India through the launch of many schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Yojana. Dr. Naveen Rao, Lead, MSD for Mothers said, “We believe that in order to save mothers, we must design, deploy and scale solutions in three areas: empowering women to make informed choices, equipping health providers with the skills, tools and technologies they need to provide high-quality care; and strengthening health systems to sustain the delivery of high-quality services that benefit women and their communities. As India makes giant strides, let’s show the world – there is no scope for maternal deaths and lead by example.”
Dr. Bulbul Sood, Country Director, Jhpiego, added, “Jhpiego in its endeavor to saving lives, improving health and transforming futures believes that through programs like ‘Manyata’, we can strengthen the quality of care during the most crucial period of a woman’s life so that motherhood is an experience that is cherished and not grieved. We expect that in partnership with FOGSI, we would be able to synergize the skills and systems that guarantee a healthier future for women and their families. Let’s all work together to make this a reality.”
The launch brought together stakeholders from the national government, civil society, doctors, development agencies and academics. The Manyata logo and a website – www.manyataformothers.org were officially unveiled during the event. A short public awareness film, Don’t Forget Moms, was also shown in a bid to encourage private facilities to join the quality bandwagon.