Participatory Learning and Action Approach: Increasing community participation to improve maternal and child health outcomes in Jharkhand
Over the years, Jharkhand has made remarkable progress with respect to maternal and child health. There has been a reduction in the Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) from 49 deaths per 1000 live births in 2010 to 21 deaths per 1000 lives births in 2019; while the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR, number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) has plummeted by 67.6 percent from 2010 to 2018. This progress has been possible due to the consistent endeavours undertaken by the state government through programmes such as the Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI) and the Mukhya Mantri Janani Shishu Swasthya Abhiyan (MMJSSA) among others. Over and above these, there is a notable programme which leverages the Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approach to improve child and maternal health outcomes.
In this article, a Sattva team member talks about his on field experience learning about and witnessing the implementation of the innovative PLA approach. He has attempted to synthesise some of his major findings from his field visit and share an informed way forward.
a) The PLA approach has great potential in solving problems at a community level as it enables members to analyse their own situation, and ensures that the learnings are then translated into action
b) The PLA approach is not only a poignant story of improving maternal and child health but also a radical story of women empowerment
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