Building Coalitions to Support Maternal Health Quality of Care in India
- The slowdown in progress on reducing maternal mortality and addressing continuing quality issues in health service delivery provide a platform for coalitions to continue rallying around. In particular, as access to maternal health care has expanded, and quality receives more attention, it will be especially important for maternal health coalitions to advocate for equitable access to high quality care.
- MHQoC coalitions recognize that this work will require greater emphasis on understanding and working with grassroots-level groups (as opposed to focusing on providers and other technical experts), and on building and maintaining links with broader movements supporting the rights of all Indian women.
- Systematic documentation can help make the case for a coalition’s relevancy and better position it as an influential actor in the MHQoC landscape. Coalition members have built strong and long-lasting relationships with policymakers and other key stakeholders in the maternal health field in India. Although it seems likely that these relationships have helped raise the profile of MHQoC issues and promoted positive change, all coalitions have noted that tracing their influence on policy outcomes has been challenging, if not impossible.
- Periods of low activity or dormancy can be appropriate at times, but strong and consistent leadership keeps a coalition going.
Coalitions are loose organizations of individuals or groups working toward a shared vision and common goal. Effective coalitions can bring about sweeping changes in policies and programs to improve the well-being of many people. Recognizing the importance of coalitions for systems change, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s maternal health quality of care (MHQoC) strategy supports civil society organizations in promoting engagement with maternal health and rights. This brief describes these coalition-building efforts to further influence the field of MHQoC supported by the Foundation and other entities, the lessons learned from MHQoC grantees working with these key coalitions, and future directions and opportunities for coalitions in this space in India.