LSTM Seminar Series: Private providers participation for maternal health care delivery: Evidence from India

News article 27 Mar 2013

The latest instalment from the LSTM seminar series was presented today by Dr Parthasarathi Ganguly, MBBS, MD, M.Phil. Dr Ganguly, Additional Professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, part of the Public Health Foundation of India.

The presentation was on "Private Providers’ Participation in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) for maternal health care: Evidence from India".

In India, lack of access to emergency obstetric care is a major cause of maternal deaths for poor women. In 2005, the state of Gujarat launched a public-private partnership (PPP) programme, Chiranjeevi Yojana (Scheme for Long Life), to increase demand for services among poor women by providing access to free obstetric care from a range of accredited private providers. Deploying a demand-side finance (DSF) model similar to a voucher scheme, women may access the care on proof of their below-poverty-line status, while the state reimburses participating providers for care delivered to eligible women.

As participation of private providers is key for the success of a PPP, this research explores the scheme from the perspective of the providers, aiming to understand why they participate, withdraw their participation or choose never to participate at all. It aims to offer lessons for similar public-private partnerships and demand-side finance schemes aiming to widen access to services for poor people in low to middle income countries. 

In the presentation Dr Ganguly said: “Unless you improve health systems, you cannot improve the delivery of maternal health care”. In Gujarat state of India, where the Scheme for Long Life is based, nearly 2,000 maternal deaths are reported each year. Dr Ganguly mentioned that the findings of this research may be widely used for the improvement of public private partnership schemes, in health sector across India.

This research is nested within a larger research project, MATIND, an EU FP7 funded project, involving Dr Rachel Tolhurst (LSTM lead), exploring demand-side finance models for maternal health care in India. The project is led by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden with partners Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar and Ujjain Medical College, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Dr Ganguly is a visiting Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, working at LSTM alongside Dr Helen Smith and Dr Kate Jehan until April  2013. He has worked in public health for over 18 years, with expertise in programme management, monitoring and evaluation, disease surveillance programmes, field survey and research, and training development of the public health workforce. More information about Dr Ganguly's work and the Public Health Foundation of India, can be found at:

The LSTM Seminar Series allows LSTM staff and students to hear about and discuss the work of international experts across a range of disciplines.