Dakshata and Born Healthy, two Jhpiego programs find place among select programs across India for their innovative approaches and effective strategies in NITI Aayog’s, Health & Nutrition Practice Insight Vol. II.
The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed in 2015 and since then, has been serving as the premier policy ‘think tank’ of the Government of India (GoI), providing both directional and policy inputs. While designing strategic and long-term policies and programs for the GoI, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice, both nationally and to the states. The think tank’s latest Health & Nutrition Practice Insight Vol. II, which includes effective strategies from all over the country, includes two interventions supported by Jhpiego India – Dakshata (pgs. 18-20) and Born Healthy (pgs. 46-48).
Prepared with an objective to display innovative approaches and facilitate knowledge sharing, this practice insight includes programs, which have produced the desirable behavior change and contributed to improving the health and nutritional status of the target population. The two Jhpiego India programs handpicked for their innovative approaches and effective strategies have also scored high in efficiency, relevance, sustainability and possibility of replication and involvement of the community, the criteria used for identifying the practices. Very importantly, as this practice insight was prepared, while the country was devising measures to tackle COVID-19, the support provided by these programs to tackle the pandemic finds a mention in the compendium.
About Dakshata: A strategic initiative developed by the GoI to address the problem of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes during and immediately after childbirth, and Jhpiego played a key role in developing and implementing the program, which is currently being funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). Specifically in Rajasthan, the program was implemented in a phased manner to cover 20 out of 34 districts, with a target of covering 202 high delivery points. Acknowledging the impact of program, the Government of Rajasthan has scaled up the program across all 34 districts and hired dedicated ‘Dakshata Mentors’ in 19 districts. As per a guidance note released by Maternal Health Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on operationalization of Dakshata, the states interested in implementation of program can send an expression of interest to the GoI. To commence, the states should implement the program in their high-priority districts, with a plan for scale-up to remaining districts.
About Born Healthy: The program, again with support from CIFF and in partnership with the Government of Rajasthan, is testing a ‘proof of concept’ to transform the way antenatal care (ANC) is provided. It is an attempt to devise an evidence-based ANC model with a special focus on the identification and management of maternal infections as well as strengthening targeted supplementation of iron and calcium during pregnancy, leading to reduction in low birth weight and adverse perinatal outcomes. The program has a thrust on innovations in the form of point-of-care diagnostics, which have been introduced to make testing and treatment of key high-risk maternal conditions efficient, cost-effective and readily available. The program is also testing a model of improvised antenatal care called Group ANC. Strengthening, identification and tracking of high-risk pregnancies is a key focus area. The Born Healthy program has been introduced in 125 facilities across 14 blocks of four districts of Rajasthan – Bundi, Dholpur, Karauli and Udaipur.
For more on Jhpiego’s technical support for GoI’s Dakshata program, write to, Dr Yashpal Jain, State Program Manager, Health Systems Strengthening; email: Yashpal.Jain@jhpiego.org.
For more on Jhpiego’s technical support for Born Healthy program, write to, Dr Vinod Kumar SV, State Team Leader, Programs; email: Vinod.Kumar1@jhpiego.org.