ARC - Advocating Reproductive Choices

9 December, 2016, New Delhi: The ARC General Body Meeting (GBM) was hosted by the Population Foundation of India (PFI), the national secretariat of ARC, in close association with its 8 Core Committee members – Abt Associates, Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), Population Health Services India (PHSI), Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (IAPPD), Janani, Parivar Seva Sanstha (PSS) and Population Services International (India). The GBM sought to build a common understanding on the mandate that the coalition holds, discuss strategies to strengthen the coalition, identify future directions for moving forward as well as welcome new members.

The GBM provided an opportunity to share information and updates on the progress made and challenges faced by ARC at the national and state levels as well as provide clarity on PFI’s role as the secretariat. Participants were able to have a discussion on recent developments in the family planning scenario and arrive at a consensus in terms of immediate priorities. Special focus was placed on the Supreme Court judgment on the Devika Biswas case (September 2016) and the Mission Parivar Vikas (September 2016) launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). All three Technical Standing Committees of ARC, viz., Quality of Care in Family Planning, Advocacy for Increased Investments for Family Planning and Expansion of Choices in Family Planning shared their updates and plans.

The membership of ARC was expanded to include Project Concern International and World Health Partners in the general body of the coalition. The new ARC website was unveiled and suggestions invited to make it more dynamic.

The following points of action were noted at the end of the meeting: (i) PFI to draft a note on the genesis of ARC (ii) ARC to continue its  efforts in advocacy to expand choice and promote quality of care (iii) Members to share communication materials to be put up on the website and to promote cross learning (iv) ARC to analyse Mission Parivar Vikas and identify ways of supporting the Ministry in its implementation and (v) PFI to work on the TOR being developed delineating ARC’s role in monitoring the implementation of the SC Guidelines in the state.