What does it take to save a life?

A village health plan

Woman sitting on the floor, showing several pages of a health plan to people sitting around her.

Are any pregnant women in the village experiencing complications? Do they need help and if so, what’s in the way of them getting it?

In Uttar Pradesh, villages working with PATH’s Sure Start project aren’t leaving these questions to fate or distant doctors anymore. They’ve got a village health plan.

Each month, members of the Village Health and Sanitation Committee meet to discuss questions and take action. In the village of Ithar, pregnant women aren’t getting their blood pressure checked at the monthly health and nutrition days arranged by the committee. Where will the funds come for a blood pressure cuff, who will buy it, and who will make sure the health care worker uses it? In Amkoil, a woman whose baby is breech needs a loan to get a c-section at the district hospital. Who can accompany her to the hospital and be her advocate?

Village committees see that families receive medical benefits, that communities access the government funds they’re entitled to, that children are vaccinated, and that health workers are doing their jobs.