Some health facilities in Bhagalpur, Bihar, were facing a common issue of having disproportionate areas covered by Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs are community health workers employed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) in comparison to the number of urban primary health centers (UPHCs). The Challenge Initiative (TCI) in India became aware of this issue when the Bhagalpur city government contacted them through the Bihar state government, which TCI had first engaged in July 2022.
The TCI team presented a solution to inadequate resource allocation during a city coordination committee meeting in Bhagalpur, based on previous learnings from the high-impact intervention – Mapping Urban Slums – conducted in Uttar Pradesh, another TCI intervention area. Their proposed solution was to develop a “UPHC Catchment Map,” to clearly demarcate the facility catchment area, district hospitals, medical colleges, and a ward-by-ward view of the population, wards, and members of women’s health group, referred as Mahila Arogya Samiti (MAS).
Mani Bhushan, the District Program Manager (DPM), welcomed the idea and sought TCI’s technical coaching in developing the same for one of the facilities. Thus, facility maps were prepared and displayed in the outpatient department (OPD) area. A copy of the same map was shared with Bhushan, who was delighted to clearly see the boundaries of each facility and use it for plotting population-based resources and seeking more resources wherever it was required.
At a scheduled National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) review meeting, he presented the map to Bhagalpur’s Civil Surgeon (CS) and said:
The idea behind developing this catchment area map is to assist UPHC staff, especially the medical officer-in-charge (MOIC), Auxiliary Nurses and Midwives (ANMs) and ASHAs, to identify their catchment area and the location of all nearby facilities.”
Bhushan also mentioned to the CS that these maps were developed with TCI’s technical coaching along and inputs from the District Immunization Officer, District Monitoring & Evaluation Officer, Urban Consultant and MOICs. The CS appreciated the idea of the “UPHC Map” for better planning and decision-making. He asked the DPM to work with TCI and develop similar maps for all of Bhagalpur’s facilities. The facilities then reached out to TCI to request coaching so they could also develop these maps.
The MOIC started noticing benefits from the mapping, as he observed that ASHAs were utilizing this map for micro-planning activities such as fixed-day static services, outreach camps, community mobilization and immunization. TCI’s city implementation leads also shared these learnings and success stories with the CS and district officials for their cities.
As a result, all 50 UPHCs in Bihar’s seven TCI-supported intervention cities developed their UPHC maps and proudly displayed them on the walls of their OPD.