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RSHR 2008-2009

The activities in this year revolved around the following 4 inter-related broad sub-themes:

Maternal Health Rights

Addressing maternal health rights is one of the core areas of CHSJ’s work. Gathering evidences around gaps in programme implementation and policies related to maternal health, building alliances and people’s voices to claim rights and address the gaps are CHSJ’s primary task.

  • Role and Limits of Institutional Delivery - CHSJ, along with SAHAYOG and Healthwatch Forum has been engaged in critically assessing the role of institutional delivery and quality of care at institutions in addressing maternal mortality and morbidity in India. For detailed decription of our work
  • Role of TBAs - The NRHM has not made any provisions for the TBA-dai even though home based delivery continues to be common, especially in the NRHM high focus states and institutions are incapable of providing appropriate post natal care. CHSJ acknowledges the need to address these emerging concerns and seeks to envisage a role for the TBA-dai within the NRHM. CHSJ along with Gujarat Dai Sangathan, Population Foundation of India and other organizations in Jharkhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have been raising the issue of roles of dais in today’s context and advocating on them. A National Consultation on the role of Dais in NRHM was held during 1–2 May 2008, New Delhi to review the role of dais and recommend ways to incorporate them in the NRHMconsultation report.

Ensuring the Right to Safe Abortion

In India, right to safe abortion is imperative because of two reasons. One, it is related to high number of unsafe abortions resulting in maternal morbidity and mortality and the other; it is misused for undergoing sex selection. Unsafe abortion contributes to 8% maternal deaths. CHSJ is concerned with both the problems and is working towards strengthening advocacy efforts to ensure women’s right to abortion in partnership with NACSA/ASAP/CMNHSA.

  • As part of CMNHSA, CHSJ has been supporting advocacy process on safe abortion in 3 districts of Bihar. It includes mapping of abortion services, women’s perceptions of abortion services in the respective areas. The findings of the mapping will be used to inform and educate community and advocate with district and state level health authorities.
  • Multi-country Abortion Study with IPPF and trainings on access to safe abortion services - IPPF is implementing a Global Abortion Care Project for which the South Asia Regional Office. As a part of this larger project IPPF is conducting a number of studies. CHSJ has provided technical support in conducting one of these studies which is focused on understanding Provider Attitudes to Abortion and Abortion Services in the countries of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan Afghanistan and Maldives. The centre is also facilitating the trainings on access to safe abortion services.

Improving Informed Choice and Quality of Care in Family Planning Services

ICPD had emphasized on individual’s making informed choices in issues related to reproductive health. This not only addresses the issue of empowerment of people but also highlights the rights based approach where rights holders claim their rights from state. Quality of care is a crucial element in service delivery and in meeting people’s health needs and ensuring rights. CHSJ is addressing the issue of informed choice and poor quality of care in family planning services through evidence building and advocacy with government.

  • Study on quality of care in women’s sterilization operations - CHSJ completed a 5 state review process of the implementation of Quality Assurance mechanisms for female sterilization operations and is also investigating the implementation of the Insurance Scheme.

Addressing Coercive Population Policies

In India the two child norm restrictions, especially with respect to political participation at the Panchayat level is part of the policy reality in many states, However such policies not only militate against civil and political rights, but also discriminate against the very poor by preventing them from availing government schemes and benefits.

  • CHSJ is continuing to work with the Jan Adhikar Manch (JAM) a network formed in Bihar that successfully advocated against the introduction of the two child norm in the state. This year CHSJ supported the Jan Adhikar Manch, in its efforts to get 2CN repealed from Municipal Corporations and Councils in Bihar. A process for energizing civil society advocates in Orissa for demanding repeal of the two child norm in the state was also initiated but it could not proceed because of the unprecedented floods and the communal tensions that gripped the state.
  • In order to understand the state level actors and factors who support and resist coercive population policies and to understand the processes which are responsible for continued support or resistance to such policies CHSJ requested a MPH student from the Univeristy of Washington, Seattle to conduct a two state study The review of the Two Child Norm Policies: State and Civil Society Responses in the post ICPD India This review, which covered Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh is expected to strengthen the ongoing advocacy action around this issue in India.

CHSJ is currently hosting the following secretariats

  • ICPD + 15 Gains & Gaps Review Process  - In November 2008, CHSJ along with Sahayog and Population Foundation of India organised a meeting to discuss what can be done in collectively to commemorate the 15th anniversary of International Conference on Population & Development (ICPD) at Cairo in 1994. There was an overwhelming consensus to conduct a civil society review process to take stock of the gains & gaps in terms of ICPD promises. CHSJ, honouring the strong requests by all the organisations agreed to host the secretariat for Gains & Gaps – ICPD+15: A Civil Society Review in India. 
  • CommonHealth (CMNHSA) - CHSJ is a member institution of CommonHealth and also houses the Coalition Secretariat thus actively supporting implementation of its wide range of advocacy and capacity-building activities around maternal health and safe abortion. 


Reproductive Health and Rights Advocacy- 22-30 July 2008 Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand, India In order to strengthen advocacy action for realization of sexual and reproductive rights CHSJ organised a 8 day training on Advocacy for Reproductive and Sexual health Rights, at Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand in August 2008. This training was organized by CHSJ in collaboration with University of Washington, US and SAHAYOG India. The training was attended by range of participants from government and donor organizations to those working at the grass root levels.