About CommonHealth
CommonHealth (The Coalition for Maternal-Neonatal Health and Safe Abortion) is a membership based network of Individuals and organisations from across the country.
The goal of CommonHealth is to advocate for better access to and quality of maternal-neonatal health and safe abortion services. We engage with issues of women’s gender and reproductive health and rights through a broad-based advocacy strategy to bring together and mobilise citizens, health providers, researchers, administrators, policy makers and others to identify significant gaps that exist in maternal-neonatal health and safe abortion in terms of health outcomes and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
CommonHealth has implemented a wide range of activities to further its objectives since its inception. While maintaining maternal and newborn health and safe abortion as its focus, the activities undertaken within these themes have varied in response to the situation at hand. For example, activities around maternal health were mainly around local advocacy and capacity-building, while activities around safe abortion have combined campaigning at the national level with local advocacy and capacity-building. 
Why CommonHealth?
Because in India: One woman dies every seven minutes from complications of pregnancy, childbirth or unsafe abortion.
India's ratio of maternal mortality is still 4501 per 100,000 live births, against 540 in 1998-1999. Hence about 78,000 mothers die in childbirth and from complications of pregnancy in India.
For every woman who dies, 20 others suffer from pregnancy-related illnesses or experience severe health consequences.
39 out of every 1000 babies die before they are one month old.2
Worldwide, almost 13 % of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortions3.
Unsafe abortion causes 9-18% of all maternal deaths and 24-67% of complications from unsafe abortion result in significant morbidity.
75% of the life-threatening maternal complications occur at the time of childbirth or soon after delivery. 75% of the deaths among newborns occur in the first week, with 25-50% occurring on the first day. 61% of maternal morbidity occurs mainly during childbirth or after delivery. Yet 59% of women give birth without a skilled attendant and 83% of women do not receive any postnatal care at all.
The great majority of the maternal deaths are totally preventable. They can be avoided if skilled attendance at birth is available and if referral linkages to emergency obstetric care and safe abortion are effective and affordable. Nonetheless, maternal health is not only about preventing maternal deaths through obstetric services. Its essence requires affirming women’s well-being and the right to be pregnant on their own terms and to carry through with their pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood with no adverse consequences to themselves or their children. Discrimination that impacts women’s rights to health must be addressed and crucial linkages to neonatal health and safe abortion must be made. 
Governments, despite their responsibility to ensure women’s rights to maternal-neonatal health and safe abortion, fail to support health care providers and the health systems they belong to. Limited antenatal services and institutional deliveries of poor quality are the norm, along with few linkages to specialist services and little follow-up during the postnatal period. At the same time unregulated and privatised health care services encourage irrational medical interventions leading to iatrogenic risks and financial indebtedness. Considering this context, to ensure good maternal-neonatal health care and access to safe abortion services for all, a focus on integrated, accountable and equitable health systems that provide accessible, affordable and effective services is essential. 

For our vision to be a reality, advocacy is required not only with policymakers at national and state capitals, but with key actors at various levels: health service providers within the public and private sectors; among researchers; civil society organisations working on health; members of local government at village, taluk and district levels; and at community level with individual women, men and children, as well as with families and other social groups. Without such mobilisation and engagement, progressive policies and legislations that are developed and adopted, flounder at the stage of implementation.

What we do

Attempt to influence discourse and provide thought leadership
Organise capacity building and discourse influencing workshops for different groups of stakeholders
Disseminate relevant evidence and information among members
Support, facilitate and mentor advocacy projects at grassroots
Document evidence and data to be utilized as advocacy tools
Provide a forum for sharing of experiences through meetings and website and list serve
Provide opportunities for peer support and learning through collaborative initiatives among members
CommonHealth is actively engaged in three thematic areas -

Maternal Health

Make every instance of maternal morbidity and maternal death count
Advocate for safety, quality and respect for women’s rights in delivery care  
Promote health system strengthening and accountability through community mobilization

Neonatal Health

Generate and disseminate information on neonatal health
Encourage labour monitoring for improving perinatal and neonatal outcomes
Advocate for right to health for newborns, through
Counting of stillbirths and newborn deaths
Legal, policy and economic measures to support newborn care
Greater participation of men, families and the community in essential newborn care

Safe Abortion

Carry out sustained campaigns to promote access to safe and quality abortion services for all women irrespective of marital status, especially those from disadvantaged sections
Support the prevention of sex-determination through stringent implementation of the PC-PNDT Act and campaigns against gender discrimination, without compromising on women’s access to safe abortion service
Activities Planned
Individual evidence based state level advocacy projects focussing on specific problems from across the country supported by the coalition.
Capacity building programmes for different groups of stakeholders, on advocacy, research skills or specific content areas.
Preparation of regular report cards on the state of maternal-neonatal health and safe abortion in different states, along with analysis on state specific policies.
Consolidation and dissemination of latest information (especially in local languages) aimed at health providers, decision-makers and key actors at the community level.
Organising thematic meetings and conferences and systematic reviews to highlight specific themes in conjunction with other allies
Providing study tours, learning exchanges and documentation of innovations and good practices within the public sector, private sector and the NGO sector.
Co-opting new members and synergizing with people and organizations working on same/similar issues.

1http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/india_statistics

2UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2009

3The World Health Report 2005 - make every mother and child count, Geneva, World Health Organisation, 2005

 
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