Madhavi Misra

Madhavi Misra - 2016 Nominee
Position: Senior Manager – Programs
Organization: Population Foundation of India
With 10yrs of experience in maternal health implementation & research, she has demonstrated commitment and belief to the cause for women’s health and rights. Her work on innovations in maternal health – Nominator
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have over ten years of experience in maternal health program implementation and research in India. I have managed to demonstrate commitment and belief to the cause for women’s health and right to health through my career. Specifically, I have studied innovative models of health care targeted to maternal and child health. I have been able to publish this as a book as well through SAGE Publication Pvt. Ltd.
I have worked in the Indian Government System influencing policy on comprehensive abortion care while working with senior government officials in the Ministry of Health. I have proved my capabilities by demonstrating effective programme implementation in the three projects I am leading at PFI. I have been able to galvanize support of the government for family planning.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Seeing women not having any control over their fertility and right to reproducing made me realize the need for family planning. Respecting women's rights is the core to their health. Morbidity and mortality related to high parity, early child marriage and low levels of nutrition of a mother are worrying and made me want to work in this area of public health.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

The non-involvement of male. it is a huge challenge in the Indian context. Male involvement is crucial to family planning because the Indian society is predominantly patriarchal and men are the decision makers. Most family planning efforts target women, be in OCP, IUD's, Injectables, implants or even sterilization. Even the behaviour change and ICT campaigns are mostly targeting women. As women are not the decision makers about their own fertility, involving men is critical.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

India, where I work, the biggest challenge is that resources committed to health are very few. If one digs deeper, resource allocated specifically to family planning is even less. This is a huge matter of concern. The government is committed however, one cannot see this in action. The countries yearly budgets to health and family planning do not reflect this. Constant advocacy is important in this regard. Expanding the basket of contraceptive choice is another challenge.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I would like to see a higher resource allocation, quality control for all family planning services and an expanded basket of choice for women to use contraceptives. This is the direction we should be working in and should see results in next 3-5 years.

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