India- Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program
USAID's Maternal and CHild Health Integrated Program (MCHIP)aims to scale up evidence-based, high impact maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) including family planning (FP) interventions toward reductions in maternal and child mortality. MCHIP program supports the above efforts working with partners in three priority states of India - Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttarakhand and at the national level to impact key Mnistry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) programs and policies to leverage the necessary resources to take MNCH intervention packages to scale. JHPIEGO through USAID funded MCHIP project is providing technical assistance to the Government of India (GoI) and the state Governments in these priority states to: 1. Support the Indian Nursing Council and GoI's initiative to strengthen the pre-service education at national level and state level to simultaneously upgrade the teaching and clinical training capacity of the institutions of nrsing and midwifery. 2. Reposition family planning(FP) as a maternal and child survival inetervention and integrate FP within the service ddelivery platfomrs of maternal and newborn and child health: Major activities include supporting GOI's strategy to address unmet need for postpartum FP services (PPFP) through supporting integration of FP in MNCH and revitalizing the Immediate Postpartum IUCD to increase the method mix to improve pregnancy spacing and maternal , infant and child survival.
Field experience is crucial for students studying global health. We learn theory in the classroom, but that does not always translate into practice. This internship allowed me to work intensely on a program providing technical assistance to district level providers, and experience the complexities of successful program implementation. Additionally, it allowed me to witness how a US-funded program is put into action at the field level.
This was my first experience with a family planning program abroad. In this context, family planning is a vital cost-effective intervention for reducing maternal and child deaths. While on this project I realized that family planning has far-reaching implications for women and their families. Proper spacing of subsequent pregnancies reduces a woman’s risk of maternal death, increases the opportunity for healthy future pregnancies and births, and promotes empowerment.
One of the most important benefits of my interviews was that the providers were able to tell me their story. The sheer number of mothers and children they serve everyday is impressive. Providers’ experiences and struggles are critical components of qualitative program assessments. I hope to convey their thoughts in a way that will be heard by decision makers and that our ideas will have an impact on the current system.
On a more personal note, this internship facilitated immersion into India’s beautiful and distinctive culture. The experience of living and working in a country vastly different from my own had a profound impact on my worldview. I loved being part of the Jhpiego India team, if only for a short time, and value the knowledge I gained from my colleagues and the district providers. It was an amazing opportunity to learn the realities of public health practice in India.