Contracting-out of Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Services through Mother NGO Scheme in India: Experiences and Implications
Maheshwari, Sunil Kumar
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Partnership with NGOs in delivering and provision of Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) services through mother NGO (MNGO) in the un-served and under-served regions is one of the important initiatives in India. The scheme involves large number of contracts between government and the NGOs. As of April 2006, 215 MNGOs were working in 324 districts of the country. In addition to this there are about 3 to 4 Field NGOs attached with each MNGO in a district. This paper discusses this scheme with an objective to understand the make up of the partnership and the development of management capacity in the system. MNGO scheme is a central sponsored scheme. This scheme faces management challenge to implement it in all states in India. Further, the case study of three states presented in this paper suggests that this challenge emanates several factors. Inter alia, these include delay and uncertainty of funding and contract renewal, lack of partnership orientation in the scheme, lack of trust among the key stakeholders, capacity constrain in the district and state health system, weak monitoring system, procedural delays and multiple points of authority and reporting relationships. It is also observed that the capacity of field NGOs to deliver in the programme is constrained due to non-availability of financial and human resources. The scheme demands a strong leadership at local levels and ownership from the state health system. This can be achieved through effective decentralisation, flexibility in decision-making and creating adequate accountability systems. Regional Resource Centres has to play an important role in coordination between state/district RCH society and the NGOs and strengthening their capacities. The central government instead of focusing on micro-management of the scheme at state level should focus on developing and strengthening the enabling environment and capacity of various stakeholders to implement the scheme. Also, they need to address various systemic issues including development of accountable and performance oriented system, ensuring financial autonomy and decentralisation, delegation of authority, building trust and accountability in the system, effective integration, continuity of the scheme and fostering true sense of partnership between the state and non-state sector.
- Working Papers