The Manthan Project

The Manthan Project provided technical assistance to the Government of Uttar Pradesh to improve maternal and newborn health (MNH) under India’s National Rural Health Mission. The project worked closely with the state government and the private sector to increase coverage of evidence-based MNH interventions during antenatal care, delivery, the immediate postpartum period, and neonatal period. Project activities spanned three interrelated components:

  1. planning collaboratively with the state government and other stakeholders to strengthen MNH programs;
  2. demonstrating and documenting strategies to expand evidence-based MNH interventions in two districts, Jhansi and Bahraich;
  3. advocating at the district, state, and national levels to promote widespread adoption and scale-up of evidence-based MNH interventions and strategies.

Selected initiatives

  • mSakhi  is an interactive mobile phone application that provides critical maternal and newborn health information to frontline health workers—accredited social health activists (ASHAs)—and serves as an interpersonal counseling tool to support ASHAs’ interaction with women and communities. 
  • A capsular skilled birth attendance (SBA) training approach that focuses on lifesaving interventions to prevent and manage specific obstetric and newborn complications was compared to a standard, one-time, 21-day training through an operations research program. 
  • An interactive mobile phone application, mNewborncare, was being tested for ASHAs and their supervisors to improve home-based newborn care and referrals.   
  • An emergency medical transport system (EMTS) for pregnant women was implemented in two community development blocks of Jhansi District from July 2011–March 2012, with the objective of demonstrating and documenting the operational details of implementing an EMTS through private-sector participation. The intent of the system is to increase institutional delivery and postpartum stay for at least 48 hours post-delivery and to ensure timely referral for obstetric emergencies. Preliminary results showed 100% referral of emergencies to higher-level facilities and average postpartum stay increasing from 3–4 hours to about 12 hours. The government intends to implement a transportation system using lessons learned from this pilot project.