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A new beginning

'Sure Start',an initiative by PATH (Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health),working to improve maternal and newborn health in the state jointly held an urban health meet with the public health department officials of Maharashtra.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Published: February 18, 2009 1:44 am

‘Sure Start’ intends to develop models,under which strengthening the health system and clinical care will be the target. These models may be replicated across other cities in future

‘Sure Start’,an initiative by PATH (Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health),working to improve maternal and newborn health in the state jointly held an urban health meet with the public health department officials of Maharashtra.

The meeting was a result of continuous discussions held between the state government officials and PATH in the wake of the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) that is on the anvil and was organised with a view to share on ground experiences and learnings till date from the ‘Sure Start’ project.

Launched in November 2005,’Sure Start’ is a five-year project,initiated across seven districts of Uttar Pradesh in the rural areas and in select urban slums in seven cities across Maharashtra. The project team has been working with an objective to increase individual,household and community action that improves maternal and newborn health. The programme aims at enhancing systems and institutional capabilities for sustained improvement in maternal and newborn care and health status. The team monitors and tracks the progress of interventions in order to assess the progress and success of the programme in bringing about the desired behaviour change.

Anjali Nayyar,country director,PATH said,”PATH programmes worldwide are based on the key premise that simple practices can have a profound impact on the health status of communities and especially the vulnerable ones. The ‘Sure Start’ programme in UP and Maharashtra will help us learn about implementing strategies to reduce maternal and newborn deaths and improve their health.”

In Maharashtra,’Sure Start’ supports a range of innovative pilot activities being carried out in urban slums,intended to develop models that may be replicated across cities elsewhere in the future. There are seven programmes models being followed,each of them focus on strengthening the health system and clinical care by working on four key intervention levels.

This includes community mobilisation,increasing demand and facilitation of an enabling environment; building household awareness in essential maternal and newborn care and nutrition including recognition of danger signs and appropriate care seeking; appropriate referral,facilitating access to institutional deliveries and skilled attendance at birth and lastly strengthening of linkages between communities and the public and private healthcare systems.

The GOM is looking at ‘Sure Start’ as a model,which will provide key learnings for the upcoming NUHM. Next month the Municipal Corporation officials from other cities will be visiting ‘Sure Start’ cities and project sites to have an on ground experience of the work being done in these areas. PATH has also been invited by GOM to be a part of the task force on urban health in the state.

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