An Examination of the Maternal Health Quality of Care Landscape in India
Evidence suggests that although the quality of maternal health care varies across India, on average, it is low. The limitations of maternal health quality of care can be summarized as follows:
- Poor delivery of clinical care.
- Lack of patient-centered care.
- Inequitable delivery of care and inefficient health system.
To address some of these deficiencies, donor investments, government prioritization, and an active civil society have intensified the focus on maternal health quality of care in recent years. These interventions are aimed at delivering health services effectively and efficiently (supply); increasing awareness about maternal health, including women’s rights and entitlements, available resources, and accountability of providers; and incentivizing women to use maternal health services (demand); and generating or using evidence on trends, needs, and outcomes to influence decision makers and affect changes in policies and programs at national or local levels (advocacy).
This landscape review, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (MacArthur Foundation), identifies the social, political, and environmental conditions that influence the delivery of quality maternal health care in India. It is intended to provide context for the implementation and evaluation of a three-and-a-half-year maternal health quality of care grantmaking strategy included under the MacArthur Foundation’s Population and Reproductive Health Program. This grantmaking effort aims to catalyze improvements in maternal health quality of care by supporting individuals’ and organizations’ work in maternal health in India. To provide a backdrop for this work, the review discusses the progress in maternal health to date (Chapter I), a framework for understanding maternal health quality of care (Chapter II), related ongoing programs and initiatives (Chapter III), and opportunities for continued improvements (Chapter IV). It draws on select maternal health literature, including peer-reviewed publications, in addition to public reports and data on maternal health in India. It also includes information from interviews with 11 stakeholders, including national government officials, maternal health experts, donors, and nongovernmental organizations.