New and proposed schemes like Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) and the National Food Security Bill (NFSB) continue to exclude women who have more than two children. National data and reports indicate to pockets of the country with MMR above 400 and high rates of home deliveries despite the so-called successes of measures like Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Access to safe abortion services are compromised because of restrictions relating to sex-selective practices, while unsafe abortions continue to contribute to the burden of maternal mortality and reproductive health morbidity. In addition to the policy asymmetry, there has been a spate of cases reported of negligence and lack of attention to quality of care in family planning camps in various states including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and most recently in West Bengal. Quality norms are constantly flouted with the surgeries taking place in a school building, pregnant women being operated upon, men being operated upon in exchange of treatment of other family members, etc.
In response to such a national scenario, revealing the urgent need for a collective advocacy to address these concerns a three day capacity building workshop around essentials of reproductive health and rights advocacy was organised in Delhi on 20-22nd of May 2013 to (a) build a common consensus among partners in states on human rights issues (b) reinvigorate advocacy around delivery of comprehensive health services for the vulnerable and marginalised (c) increased accountability of the government.
Advocacy groups and organisations like Advocating Reproductive Choices (ARC), Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ), Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive population Policies, CommonHealth, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and NAMHHR partnered to undertake the workshop.
20 organisations from seven states (Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh) participated in the advocacy workshop and prepared plans for advocacy action in these states. Strategies and immediate action points are being worked upon by the participants. it is hoped that these organisations will be supported in their advocacy agendas by the organizers of the workshop.