AAN came with a wealth of experience of working on social inclusion at grassroots level. They managed the SSMP Equity and Access Programme (EAP), partnering 26 district based NGOs, known as Equity and Access Support Organisations, in selected areas of eight districts (Morang, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Parbat, Myagdi, Dailekh, Dadeldhura). Social mobilisation activities specifically targeted disadvantaged communities, working with local groups, especially women’s groups, networks, local health workers and district managers, and supporting the establishment of emergency funds and local transport schemes. Mass media activities included radio programming and development of locally appropriate print materials and were extended to two additional districts. Two regionally based voice monitoring agencies were responsible for “voice capturing” activities in all districts. AAN used a rights based approach to empower disadvantaged women to understand and claim their rights to maternal health care and adopt healthy practices, with the support of their families local communities .
The objectives of EAP were to:
- Increase safe motherhood and newborn health knowledge in communities, especially among the poor and excluded
- Create an enabling environment for socially excluded women and families to access health care by addressing social, cultural, economic and physical barriers
- Enhance the capacity of the Equity and Access Support Organisations (NGO partners), local government organisations and communities to promote equitable access to SMNH care
- Capture and use the voice of rights holders (citizens) and service providers to influence policy and programme development
Since the contract with ActionAid ended in December 2009, the NGO partners have continued the safe motherhood work, combining it with their other district based activities and using the learning from their AAN experiences. In this way the partnership modality has been an important means of ensuring sustainability of inputs at community level. In addition, the government has begun scaling up EAP activities using its own funds to support a new public-private partnership approach to equity and access, based on contracts between District Health Offices, as managers, and local NGOs, as implementers. To date this has been established in three new districts and in new areas of seven of the existing EAP districts.
Click to open the Equity and Access programme leaflet