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Voice and Accountability: The Role of Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health Committee

By: Margaret Leppard, Sarawat Rashid, Atiya Rahman, Mahmuda Akhter, Hashima-E-Nasreen

If health services are to be improved, raising the voice and accountability of both community members and health service staff is important. Many partnership initiatives have shown achievements in improving health services by facilitating people’s participation and by identifying mechanisms whereby the voice of those involved can be effectively heard. To ensure community participation, BRAC’s Maternal, Neonatal and Child health (MNCH) programme introduced the MNCH committee in 2005. The committee’s terms of references (ToR) were to raise awareness about MNCH healthcare services in the community and local hospitals, and motivate community members to use improved healthcare services.

The study aimed to explore how the committee members encourage community participation for health promoting practices and how the committee’s communication activities empowered the community people to ensure the healthcare needs of the poor mothers and children are met by local health services.