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Maternal & Infant Health Initiative

Legatum launched the Maternal and Infant Health Initiative in 2007 to address maternal and infant health issues in the Indian state of Bihar.

Legatum maternal and infant health
Portfolio
Maternal & Infant Health Initiative

Legatum launched the Maternal and Infant Health Initiative in 2007 to address maternal and infant health issues in the Indian state of Bihar.

Legatum maternal and infant health
Overview

According to a World Health Organisation report published in 2008, countries in southern Asia accounted for most child and maternal deaths globally. In India’s Bihar state, a lack of quality services for women during pregnancy and childbirth led to high infant and maternal mortality rates and placed it below the country’s average mortality rates at the time.

To tackle these challenges, Legatum launched the Maternal and Infant Health Initiative in 2007 and distributed over $1.38mn in grants to local organisations to improve and better equip local healthcare service providers.

Approach

Grants distributed from the Maternal and Infant Health Initiative to 14 local community-based organisations (CBOs) provided them with the resources to train and equip traditional birth attendants and rural health care providers. The training focused on safe delivery practices, immunisation, and treatment for common diseases and ailments among infants and pregnant and new mothers.

The Initiative aimed to change attitudes and behaviours through education programmes and economic empowerment. It also advocated and partnered with government agencies to improve access to vaccines and provide routine healthcare and services for infants, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.

Analysis

The Maternal and Infant Health Initiative was highly successful. It cared for many more women and children than expected and decreased the region's mortality rates.

The 14 funded CBOs also demonstrated the importance of culture change through education and training. They worked to improve conditions, and their efforts resulted in the integration and reopening of child development centres and local health clinics. There was also a focus on economic empowerment, education and women’s self-help to delay childbirth and improve health.

Stat Icon HEALTH
12,000+
infants cared for
Stat Icon LIVES
20,000+
pregnant women assisted
Stat Icon TRAINING
6,300
healthcare workers trained
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