Maternal & Newborn Health


The Maternal and Newborn Health Program currently focuses on two aspects of maternal health :

  • Improving access in order to care for pregnant mothers in vulnerable slum communities.
  • Building responsive public healthcare systems that provide quality maternal care.

How We Work

Our model aims to impact maternal and new born health in the urban areas, and adopts a two pronged strategy :

At the systems level, to improve the quality of care by facilitating initiation of quality antenatal clinics at health posts, the development and implementation of emergency obstetric referral protocols and coordinating periodic referral meetings to resolve inter facility bottlenecks in the management of emergency obstetric cases.

At the community level, to bring about behaviour change in pregnant women with the use of targeted communication and engagement strategies.

We work with the Municipal corporation of Mumbai and the Municipal corporations of Kalyan - Dombivali, Mira - Bhayander and Thane.


The Maternal and Newborn Program of SNEHA has recently received a grant by the World Heath Organization, under the call for proposals announced by the Implementation Research Platform, World Health Organization. The proposal has been selected for funding for two years after a rigorous process of screening of around 500 entries received from all over the globe. As part of the selection process, Sushma Shende, Program Director Maternal and Newborn Health and Dr Shanti Pantvaidya, Executive Director (Programs) attended a five day workshop on designing implementation research study protocols in Montreux, Switzerland between 21st and 26th January2013.

Won ICICI CNBC India Inclusive Award for strengthening primary health care for pregnant mothers.


The system of referral slips in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai introduced into the public health system by SNEHA became increasingly well adopted by the doctors of partnering facilities, with the rate of fully documented referral cases increasing by 23 percentage points over the previous year (2011 : 34%, 2012 : 57%) thus helping better management of High Risk cases.

As an innovative approach to sustain referral meetings in the health system, Continuing Medical Education session linked referral meetings were introduced into Mumbai's Western regional referral link (covering 10 public healthcare facilities) and Central Eastern regional referral link (covering13 public healthcare facilities).

Partnership has been established with Kalyan - Dombivali, Mira - Bhayander and Thane Municipal Corporations to strengthen the public maternal care, which will cover up to 56 public health facilities. Mira - Bhayander Municipal Corporation has already adopted.

SNEHA's documentation format records referrals of high risk pregnant mothers from public Health Posts (primary care centres) to larger hospitals.

Between May 2012 and March 2013, efforts were made to increase the uptake of free antenatal care services offered through 29 MCGM Health Posts by the residents of communities defined as 'vulnerable slum pockets'.

  • Established 29 ante natal care clinics at municipal health posts in Mumbai.
  • Established referral networks of 26 maternity homes, 9 peripheral hospitals and a tertiary centre of care in Mumbai, Thane and Mira Bhayander for safe childbirth.
  • Ensure more than 30,000 safe deliveries each year through partner public hospitals.
  • Help nearly 8,000 pregnant women with potential complications every year.
  • Reached 5,000 men and women to promote informed family planning.

A preliminary analysis indicates that, in 5 out of 29 MCGM Health Posts partnering with SNEHA, there has been a consistent increase in the utilization of their antenatal care (ANC) clinics by pregnant women from vulnerable slum pockets. 235 pregnant women from vulnerable slum pockets registered at these five ANC clinics during the last three months of the fiscal year (January - March 2013), as compared to 53 during the first three months of the community intervention (May - July 2012).

Read our "Stories of Change"