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Equal and quality healthcare for the marginalized, especially women and children
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Why should anyone get better access to healthcare services just because of gender, caste, creed, economic background, religion and disability?’ asks Dr Sunil Mehra, who started MAMTA after witnessing the dismal state of mother and child healthcare in a slum near his house. Moved by their state, he disbanded a thriving private practice and began clinical interventions within the slum community.
In more than 25 years of its existence, MAMTA has adopted the life-cycle approach towards maternal and child health and its goal is to provide equal and quality healthcare for the marginalized, especially women and children. Continued collaborations with international organizations encouraged MAMTA to work with the community and create participatory models of running its programmes. Thereby setting the ball of ownership by the community rolling, and forming a commitment to being strongly evidence-based in its approaches.
Riding the tide of holistic development, MAMTA expanded its scope to include Young People’s Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, including challenging gender norms and intervening in cases of early marriage; HIV and TB prevention, management, diagnostics, and dealing with the accompanying stigma; and non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and so on, which are known to be large contributors to global deaths every year. Today, MAMTA’s projects and initiatives run exceedingly successful yet its true actualization is because, MAMTA mobilizes community, strengthens health systems, networks and conducts policy level advocacy in close partnership with the government and public health systems, civil societies, academic institutions, corporate sector and community at large.
The work MAMTA does on the ground and the research it conducts feeds into the advocacy and partnerships with government and strives to enrich its policies and programmes. MAMTA has also made pioneering forays into working with sexual minorities and other isolated groups. Portals and apps that disseminate information on sexuality and reproductive conundrums to young people, presentations to parliamentary committees on core area findings, and technical support to other countries with similar issues are all part of MAMTA’s achievements.
‘Success lies both in improving coverage with inclusiveness i.e. reaching maximum target groups with good quality and simultaneously, getting a sustained and increased donor base, with newer sustainable revenue models (social entrepreneurship) – while strengthening academic and community groups partnerships.’ With a strong belief in this principle, MAMTA prides itself on its systems of working, which are transparent, accountable, and constantly evolving through learning.
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