ASPIRATIONAL DISTRICT Program

Vriddhi is providing technical assistance to the Aspirational Districts (ADs) Program at the national, state and district levels. The project provides Program Management Unit Aspirational Districts to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. At the national and state levels the Program provides support to 25 Aspirational Districts in the states of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab. The Program Management Unit Aspirational Districts spearheads the program and coordinates the activities across the states and ADs of the country. The state level support focuses on translating policy to action, helping the respective states to develop a road map and plan out activities for the Program. The district level support involves working closely with district health teams to implement the operational plan for the Aspirational Districts.

At national level the Program Management Unit Aspirational Districts coordinate multi-stakeholder consultation to finalize a supportive supervision checklist. The project teams in the states initiate Supportive Supervision visits across the project supported Aspirational Districts. The project is also supporting the development of the Aspirational Districts supportive supervision software to facilitate data collection and analysis of supportive supervision from all the 117 Aspirational Districts of the country.

Worldwide, pneumonia remains a major cause of child mortality. A major bottleneck in improving pneumonia outcomes is related to the identification and appropriate referral or management of children at the peripheral health outposts. While recording blood oxygen saturation through SpO2 measurement is globally recommended, pulse oximetry devices used to measure SpO2 are not widely implemented, more so in the peripheral health centers. The current practice is observation of clinical signs and counting of respiratory rate is prone to observer bias and error. Vriddhi introduced a niche point of care device to deliver rapid, reliable, non-invasive measurement of SpO2 as well respiratory rate. This helps in accurate and faster classification and management of pneumonia cases. The project is collaborating with “Masimo” (A global biomedical manufacturing company) and has introduced the RAD-G pulse oximeter for the first time within the public health care system in India. The device is being introduced at select Health and Wellness Centres in project states, targeting Auxillary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) and AYUSH doctors. The aim is to generate evidence on feasibility, acceptability, usability, impact, and cost-effectiveness pulse oximeter and its potential for scale up.

Vriddhi is introducing evidence-based program planning for Aspirational Districts to achieve RMNCAH goals. The program review process is building capacity of health planners and programers to use evidence in health action planning. Coinciding with the annual financial cycle, the project conducts planning workshops for select states to measure progress toward RMNCAH program goals and objectives using available data on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health status, assess where and how the states and aspirational districts have implemented reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health interventions and identify the interventions with low coverage and the causes of low coverage, assess how well program activities are being implemented- prioritise key problems, develop solutions and recommendations and decide on next steps for incorporating recommendations into RMNCAH plans. It is envisaged that the program review will build upon strengths and identify program priorities that need immediate attention.