SAHAYOG | Holding the Government Accountable

December 2, 2015 SAHAYOG

SAHAYOG is a non-profit voluntary organization working since 1992. It has a head office at Lucknow and a project office at New Delhi. SAHAYOG works with the mission of promoting gender equality and women’s health using human rights frameworks and explicitly upholds the values of equity and equality, transparency, participation and effectiveness.

SAHAYOG works with WHRAP-SA by holding the Indian government responsible and accountable to international commitments and national law protecting women’s SRHR rights.

January-June 2015 Accomplishments

As a follow up to a public Hearing held in December 2014 by the National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR), in collaboration with others, SAHAYOG met with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and made a submission on the issue of Informed Choice and Quality of Care in the context of contraception, especially family planning. As a result of this, the NHRC has registered a case of violation with a commitment to investigate and take action.

As Secretariat of NAMHHR, SAHAYOG has made large contributions to the betterment of women’s SRHR in Uttar Pradesh. Some examples of their contributions are:

• SAHAYOG made a submission to the Public Service Commission (PSC) on Health and Family Welfare on “Family Planning and Female Sterilization: Urgent Need for Policy and Budgetary Changes”. The PSC took note of SAHYOG’s recommendations, and reported on them in the 82nd Report of the PSC on Health and Family Welfare.

•Also acting as secretariat, the Coordinator of SAHAYOG contributed to a fact-finding mission in to the deaths of 13 women that had been victims to sterilization surgeries. The mission was organized by women’s rights group SAMA, and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, the Indian chapter of the People’s Health Movement. Their findings were used in the report, Camp of Wrongs: the mourning Afterwards which was disseminated to media and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare.

•SAHAYOG’s knowledge was recognized by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, who then asked for their contributions to budget planning for the national family planning programme. Their recommendations aimed at quality services, family planning, and monitoring were accepted by the committee and recommended to the Department.

•Another success, and testament to Sahayog’s expertise in women’s SRHR rights was when
a Sahayog coordinator was invited to be convenor of the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights for the stakeholder consultation on the UNSG’s global strategy for women, children, and Adolescents’ Health in February. As a follow up to this, Sahayog was asked to contribute to the draft paper for the human rights work that will be part of the global strategy.

In the last 6 months, SAHAYOG has had great success in facilitating platforms for Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to present their rights based experiences and concerns to officials in state headquarters. This is an important step in having the voices from the ground being incorporated into national state planning measures.

• In Gorakhpur, Chandauli, and Kushinagar, CBOs have used the ‘PhotoVoice’ method to document the conditions at Sub-centres, Primary Health Centres (PHCs), and Community Health Centres (CHCs). Their findings were presented to health officials across all 8 districts of Uttar Pradesh, and in numerous ‘Health Centre Dialogues’.

• In May, civil society, media, and doctors, came together for an advocacy project called ‘Patient Rights in the private sector and implementation of the Clinical Establishment Act’. The advocacy project saw 13 case studies of patients rights violations published, and 5,500 signatures collected by the Healthwatch Forum group that called for patient rights.

The Women’s Health and Rights Advocacy Partnership (WHRAP) -South Asia aims to promote marginalized women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. WHRAP combines grassroots evidence with national and international advocacy to promote the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of women.

WHRAP Sahayog