The Changing Role of Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) in India: Implications for Maternal and Child Health (MCH)
The worldâ€™s democracy and its second most populous country, India was the first developing country to have a national family planning program and has implemented countrywide reproductive health programs such as RCH I. Indiaâ€™s primary health care and the family planning programs have come a long way after the independence in improving health indicators in general, yet it has high material and under five mortality rates. The country has developed an extensive network of primary health centers and sub- to provide basic medical care to huge (80%) rural population. In the rural health care system, the ANM is the key field level functionary who interacts directly with the community and has been the central focus of all the reproductive child health programs. In contrast with resident ANM of sixties who was providing delivery and basic curative services to the community, todayâ€™s commuting multi purpose worker is more involved in family planning and preventive services. This has implications on the implementation and outcomes of maternal health programs in rural India. The midwifery role of the ANM should be restored if the goal of decreasing maternal mortality has to be met. The priority will have to change from family planning immunization to comprehensive reproductive health including maternal and neonatal care. These changes will require sustained and careful planning/resource allocation. Increasing resources along with systemic reforms will improve health status for women and children who are the focus of Reproductive Child Health programs. [Working Paper No. W.P. No.2008-03-01]
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