Expanding health networks in India: the Ujjwal network
India is the largest contributor to the world’s disease burden, and accounts for 18% of global maternal deaths and 21% of child mortality. Access to life-saving family planning (FP), reproductive health (RH), and maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) services is extremely limited in rural areas in India, yet nearly 70 percent of India’s population lives in rural areas.
Several factors contribute to the lack of access, including 1) The current distributions systems for FP, RH and MNCH products and services are not commercially attractive to companies; 2) Low demand within small rural communities for FP/RH products and services, largely because of a lack of understanding of the economic benefits and social stigma associated with these practices and products; and 3) Few FP/RH/MNCH health clinics in rural areas meet quality requirements of the national government’s insurance scheme, thus limiting ability to pay for services.
Project Ujjwal was implemented between 2013- 2016 as part of the UK aid Reproductive Maternal and Newborn Health Framework for Results program. The project was designed to reduce maternal deaths from unwanted pregnancies.
The Palladium approach to implementing this project in Bihar and Odisha featured the development of the Ujjwal Network, using principles of social franchising and social marketing. The Ujjwal network was created in partnership with the Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust, a non-profit social enterprise set up in 1992 by HLL Lifecare Limited (previously known as Hindustan Latex), the largest manufacturer of condoms and other contraceptives, as well as other health care and pharmaceutical products. HLFPPT was established “to establish efficient public-private partnerships in order to help people at the bottom of the pyramid”.
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