The Department of Family Welfare, Government of India, introduced the Mother NGO (MNGO) scheme, also called Maatruchaaya, under the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Program in the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-02).

This scheme aims at improving the health care services for all, with a particular focus on women and children living in the underserved areas of the country, under the mandate of National Health policy, the National Population policy and the National Rural Health Mission.

The Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) phase II mainly focuses on increasing access to reproductive and child health services by promoting civil society organizations and other bodies to work in underserved areas and complement and supplement the efforts of the government in this process.

Sangath was selected by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, as a Mother NGO to provide RCH services to the under-served areas of South Goa district namely Mormugoa (Baina, Mangor Hill, Zuarinagar), Salcete (Monte Hill, Khareband, Dandevaddo and Fatorda) and Quepem (Balli, Barcem and Morpilla).

These areas have communities mainly comprising of migrant workers and slum dwellers with poor health seeking behavior, low educational status and income, all contributing to low health indicators.

This program proposed to cover a population of 49,000, from 3 villages and 14 slum areas, in partnership with local field NGOs and the public health sector. A community needs assessment was conducted using qualitative and quantitative tools in the following areas: Maternal and Child Health; Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health; Family Planning; Prevention and Management of RTIs / STIs.

The implementation was based on the service delivery model designed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the United Nation Family Planning Association (UNFPA).

A number of workshops and training programs were organized by the regional resource centre – the Family Planning Association of India(FPAI) which was followed by base line surveys conducted by the chosen field NGO’s, Desterro Eves Mahila Mandal, Positive People and Vidya Bharati.

Based on the base line data a consolidated project proposal was developed by Sangath that provided the outline of the proposed interventions. The proposal was reviewed by FPAI and approved by the State RCH Society.

During the implementation phase the MNGO conducted a number of capacity building exercises for the field NGOs which included trainings on community work, service delivery, reporting and monitoring formats and financial management. IEC/ BCC materials along with other supplies were procured and distributed to the field NGOs. Liasioning and networking was done at village, block, district and state level and with the State Family Welfare Bureau for the successful implementation of the scheme.

The service delivery under RCH was implemented at the grass root level by the field NGOs with technical support and supervision from the MNGO.

The field NGOs conducted a number of activities in their respective communities, such as health camps, RTI/ STI camps and advocacy meetings in the community. IEC and BCC activities were also conducted which included awareness and sensitization programs on maternal and child health, neonatal health, antenatal care, adolescent reproductive and sexual health, family planning, RTIs/ STIs and HIV- AIDS.

This was done through street plays, dramas and lectures. Motivating and mobilizing the community to avail of immunization, family planning and individual counselling, was also part of the action plan by the field NGOs.

Through this project the field NGO’s were able to mobilize the communities in which they were working to avail of various maternal and child health services such as antenatal care, immunizations and created awareness about services available in the area of reproductive and sexual health.