A book released in India Tuesday suggests some innovations to bring down maternal and infant deaths ranging from low cost incubators for low-birthweight babies to a dedicated transport service named Janani Express to ferry pregnant women to hospitals.
About 21 such indigenous and low cost innovations have been published in the book 'Innovations in Maternal Health - Case Studies from India'.
The book by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) lists some of the innovative practices, schemes and products by various NGOs, industry and community centres across the country.
Talking about the initiative, J.K Satia, who put the book together, said the use of such programmes and technology in clinical and non-clinical settings is one way to accelerate initiatives to improve maternal health and reduce infant mortality.
"One of the ways to use existing innovations is through documentation and the dissemination of information on innovations already piloted," he said.
Each of the innovations has been listed as a case study which can be used in different settings for teaching and advocacy.
Some of the case studies developed as part of this project were pilot tested among post-graduate students at the Indian Institute of Public Health, Delhi.
"Early results indicate that the majority enjoyed the case study style of teaching and found it easy to absorb information presented in both the print and documentary case studies," said Madhavi Misra, who conducted field studies for documentation.
According to Misra, the lessons learnt from existing programmes can be used for strengthening public health competency, effectively tackle road blocks and help public health managers find solutions to difficult issues.
The documentation of good practices in maternal health is important as in 2000, 191 countries signed the Millennium Development Goals and two of its eight goals focus on improving maternal health and reducing child mortality.
As one of the signatories, India has achieved some improvement in maternal and child health but there is an urgent need to increase the pace of progress towards meeting the stipulated goals.