Focus AreasMaternal and Newborn Health
Building strong women’s groups to address health issues in partnership with the National Health Mission, Maharashtra
The National Health Mission, Maharashtra has appointed SNEHA as the Mother NGO to help other NGOs implement the Mahila Arogya Samitis (MAS) programme in 95 urban informal settlements across Maharashtra. We have created 8075 MAS groups until March 2019 with an average of 10 members in each. A total of 5000 Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and NGO staff have been trained over 2 years.
Mahila Arogya Samitis (MAS) are community-based women’s groups that serve as local institutions for health planning and action. They work closely with Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), or government health workers, and public health institutions to increase uptake of government health services. A well-functioning MAS can result in improved utilisation of health services and bridge the gap between people’s needs and service delivery.
Forming NGO partnerships
We partner with grassroots non-governmental organisations to form MAS groups in their geographies.
Aligning goals and activities
We build processes and systems for greater collaboration between communities and officers of the National Urban Livelihood Mission, National Health Mission, and the Integrated Child Development Services.
Strengthening National Health Mission implementation in Maharashtra
We work with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and NGOs to strengthen collaboration in health service delivery.
We believe that NGOs will benefit from participating in this state-level programme because it strengthens partnerships with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). These partnerships are crucial to delivering quality services. The programme also helps NGOs gain visibility, strengthen governmental partnerships and enhance community processes. Once the MAS performs well and sustains itself, NGOs can use them as vehicles to replicate successful intervention models.
We have found that in some regions, communities are reluctant to use public health services. In such communities, Mahila Arogya Samitis (community based women’s health groups) have the potential to act as a familiar intermediary that can increase communities’ uptake of health services.
When government employed community organisers known as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), first began working in low-income settlements in Nagpur, they were unable to mobilise communities efficiently.
ASHAs were concerned that local residents were unaware of the services they were offering, and it was difficult to connect with them en masse.
The need for an intermediary between community members and ASHAs became clear. SNEHA worked with the Indian Institute of Youth and Welfare, a Nagpur-based organisation, to set up Mahila Arogya Samitis (MAS), or community-based women’s health groups. The women members of these groups would work with ASHAs to familiarise their peers with available public health services. Their work aimed to facilitate stronger bonds between ASHAs and the community. SNEHA has continued to support IIYW in setting up MAS in their programme areas.
“Earlier, the community only trusted anganwadi workers (government-employed child care centre worker). After the formation of MAS, people from the community are approaching us as well,” says Smita, an ASHA.
View all our municipal partnerships.
Integrated Child Development Services
National Health Mission, Maharashtra