Using Technology to Claim Rights to Free Maternal Health Care: Lessons about Impact from the My Health, My Voice Pilot Project in India
My Health, My Voice is a human rights-based project that pilots the use of technology to monitor and display online data regarding informal payments for maternal health care in two districts of Uttar Pradesh, India. SAHAYOG, an organization based in Uttar Pradesh, partnered with a grassroots women’s forum to inform women about their entitlements, to publicize the project, and to implement a toll-free hotline where women could report health providers’ demands for informal payments. Between January 2012 and May 2013, the hotline recorded 873 reports of informal payment demands. Monitoring and evaluation revealed that the project enhanced women’s knowledge of their entitlements, as well as their confidence to claim their rights. Anecdotal evidence suggests that health providers’ demands for informal payments were reduced in response to the project, although hospital and district officials did not regularly consult the data. The use of technology accorded greater legitimacy among governmental stakeholders. Future research should examine the sustainability of changes, as well as the mechanisms driving health sector responsiveness.