White Ribbon Alliance India has brought significant, life-saving improvements to health care in two states of India where women are at high risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth.
Volunteer members of White Ribbon Alliance in Orissa and West Bengal used checklists, public hearings and ‘verbal autopsies’ (face to face questioning) to collect evidence, create awareness, mobilise people and increase accountability.
White Ribbon members were trained to use checklists in hospitals and health centres to check whether the services promised by the government are in place. These include basic amenities such as electricity, running water, essential medical equipment and supplies. These results are then reported back to district health officials who work with our volunteers to improve services.
Public hearings gather up to 2,000 women from different villages to hear about what services they are entitled to – and to tell district officials about their own experiences in government health facilities. The district officials respond and make pledges about what they will do to improve matters. These hearings are widely reported by the media.
Volunteers also carry out verbal autopsies after a woman dies in childbirth, to find out what went wrong and how further deaths can be prevented.
The results are impressive.
In one area of India, White Ribbon Alliance’s work has doubled functioning health clinics, doubled safe deliveries and quadrupled ambulance and round the clock nursing services.