JOINT WORKING IN A FRAGMENTED SYSTEM: CHALLENGES IN MATERNAL AND CHILD CARE PROVISION IN THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Keywords:Health Policy, Integrated Care, Frontline Workers
In policy documents worldwide, the issue of maternal and child mortality and morbidity is identified as an urgent health concern [SDGs, 2016]. The Integrated Child Delivery Service [ICDS] and National Health Mission [NHM] jointly attempt to address the issue of maternal and child health in India. On the ground, these programs are operationalized by the frontline workers of the two programs – the Accredited Social Health Activists [ASHAs], the Auxiliary Nursing Midwives [ANMs] and the Anganwadi Workers [AWWs]. The purpose of designing joint activities between the two programs is to integrate both the social and the medical aspects of health [Sharma, 2014]. However, while the two programs are designed to be compatible, coordination issues exist in their joint implementation [Kim et al., 2017; Prasad et al., 2012]. Currently, because of the allocation of additional responsibilities for the frontline workers, challenges for frontline workers have exacerbated [Indian Express, 2020]. In real terms, the increased problems in coordination in integrated care provision could potentially result in increased incidents of morbidity and mortality for this demographic. In this context, this article discusses and anticipates challenges for the frontline workers for providing maternal and child health in India.
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