CommonHealth envisions a society that ensures the right to the highest attainable standards of reproductive and sexual health for all, especially for women and marginalized communities in India.
CommonHealth aims to raise visibility of the unacceptably high mortality and morbidity among pregnant women while also highlighting the lack of access to safe abortion services in different parts of the country with a focus on marginalised communities.
The mission of the coalition is to mobilize advocates from different constituencies to:
Ensure effective implementation of relevant policies and programmes.
Contribute to the development of new policies and advocate for change in existing ones, when needed.
Build a rights-based and gender-sensitive perspective among communities, health care providers, researchers, academicians, administrators, elected representatives and the media.
What we do
- Provide thought leadership and influence the sexual and reproductive health discourse.
- Organize capacity building and discourse influencing workshops with diverse actors such as policymakers, state officials, grassroots organisations, researchers, lawyers and healthcare providers.
- Disseminate relevant information among CommonHealth members and at various local, regional, national and international fora.
- Support, facilitate and mentor advocacy projects at the grassroots level.
- Build evidence about the status of sexual and reproductive health and rights for advocacy at local, national and international levels.
- Provide a forum for members to share their experiences in meetings and through social media.
- Provide opportunities for peer-support and learning through collaborative initiatives among members.
- Mobilize advocates to adopt a rights-based and gender equity perspective.
Steering Committee Members
Special invitees [Steering Committee]
Dr. Nilangi Sardeshpande is an Ayurveda graduate with Masters in Health Sciences. After working for more than a decade on issues such as health equity, public health system functioning, Nilangi did PhD in Social Sciences from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Her doctoral research focused on women’s access to health services, with reference to young women who underwent hysterectomy.
Currently she is working as a consultant for a SDGs related project being implemented by SAHAJ. She is also a steering committee member of CommonHealth, which is a coalition working on reproductive health with emphasis on safe abortion and maternal health. Nilangi is working as a member of ethics committee for organizations like Anusandhan Trust, Prayas (Pune) and Vishawanand Kendra (Pune). Having received training for evaluation, Nilangi also undertakes evaluations for community-based health related projects. Currently, her work is more in the SDGs especially the goals related to health and gender equality.
Ms. Sanjeeta Gawri is the financial adviser of the steering committee. She is a gender and public health professional based at Delhi. She is a recipient of the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program award. She has a Masters degree in Public Health specializing in health policy and management from Emory University. Currently, she is a Senior Program Officer with Gender Equity and Governance division of Centre for Catalysing Change (formerly known as CEDPA India).
Ms. Renu Khanna, a feminist women’s health and rights activist, has a Masters in Business Administration from Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University, India. She is a cofounder of SAHAJ-Society for Health Alternatives, a reputed organisation based in Vadodara (Gujarat). Renu has over four decades of experience as a trainer, action researcher, evaluator and policy analyst in India. She is on the governing boards and steering committees of several national and international organisations and networks.
Dr. Alka Barua is a Paediatrician based in Ahmedabad with 25 years’ experience in health sector. She is a researcher and an independent consultant.
Dr. Bhuvaneswari Sunil specialises in gender and public health with a doctoral degree from School of Health Systems Management, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her research is based on field work in South India on the induced abortion lived experiences of women. She has 15 years of research experience in the field of HIV, TB and reproductive health of women with reputed academic institutions in India. Her research interests include working on gender disparities in health, feminist frameworks, health economics, evaluation of health programmes.
Ms. Priya holds a Masters in Social Work, a Masters in Gender and Development, and a Diploma in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. She has worked on the issue of access to health services for vulnerable and marginalised communities with a special focus on women’s health concerns in rural areas. She was awarded the Young Champion of Maternal Health Fellowship by the Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2013. She is based in Mumbai and currently works as the Country Manager for One Drop Foundation, a not-for-profit that supports water and sanitation projects in rural India’.
Mr. Rajdev Chaturvedi, head of Gramin Punarnirman Sansathan is a well-known Gandhian social activist working in villages of Azamgarh & Ambedkarnagar UP. Since his student life, he has been very sensitive about the issues of women and marginalized community. He entered in social sector in 1990, when he first time interacted with Prem Bhai (a reputed social worker with Sarvodaya background) of Banwasi Sewa Ashram-Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh. During the one-hour discussion with him, Mr. Rajdev inspired with the Sarvodaya (upliftment of all) ideology and Gandhian philosophy of development. He realized and decided to work for the upliftment of poor and marginalized community with especial focus on women. In order to shape his development vision, he started work in community with women of Dalit and marginalized community in rights framework in Atrauliya block of district Azamgarh and initially focused on the issues of women health. Currently GPS has been focusing on issues of women empowerment by strengthening their understanding about their rights and entitlements; and promoting their voices in local self governance and govt. machinery. GPS has been also focusing on issues of reproductive and child health, Right to Information and gender equality in association with various state level networks and forums. His key area of competency are- CBO facilitation with rights perspective, women, child and adolescent health promotion, liaisoning and CBO-led advocacy with stakeholders. He is co-founder of Health Watch – UP and MASVAW (Men’s Action for Stopping Violence Against Women)Uttar Pradesh and Member of FEM, India also member of SC of CommonHealth.
Subha Sri is Gynaecologist and Obstetrician working with Rural Women’s Social Education Center, a grassroots women’s organization working on Reproductive Health and Right issues in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu.
Pawan Kumar Sheokand is Founder & Director of Institute for Social Research & Development (ISRD) at Chandigarh. He holds M.Phil degree in Political Science from Panjab University, Chandigarh. He worked at different position with various International as well as National level Organisations. He has been involved on issues of governance, women empowerment, Health, gender based violence, gender and right in the northern region of India since last 15 years. He has lot of experience in research, training and advocacy
Souvik Pyne is currently working as Advocacy Officer at The YP Foundation, New Delhi. He is a public health graduate from AMCHSS, SCTIMST and a dentist by background. He is passionate about working on SRHR especially safe abortion. He is a fellow of Youth Champions Initiative by Rise Up (Public Health Institute, California) and The Packard Foundation; Youth Champion of the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership; member of the Youth Advisory Group on abortion stigma of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); member of International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Discrimination and Stigma (inroads)
Bijayalaxmi Rautaray is the Secretary of Sahayog, a voluntary organization based in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The organisation focuses in maternal, child and adolescent health, tuberculosis care and treatment, child rights and with differently abled peoples’ associations. She is the co-convener of “Voice of Patient Forum” which has been working / advocating for rights of patients and especially for people affected with tuberculosis.
Dr. Arvinder S. Nagpal is an eye surgeon. For the last 21 years he is associated with an NGO in Ludhiana, Punjab. His area of work includes reproductive and sexual health, gender rights in urban poor communities. He articles regularly appear in newspapers and other journals.
Dr. P. Balsubramanian is a social scientist with PhD in Population Studies. He is currently the Executive Director of Rural Women’s Social Education Centre (RUWSEC), an organization working for women’s health, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health issues. RUWSEC is based in Thirukazhukundrum near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He has been working with RUWSEC as research coordinator since 1998 and his field of experience is on researching and documentation of population, gender, sexual and reproductive rights of young people and women. His work mainly involves in training grassroots workers, youth leaders and health care providers on gender based violence against women, young people’s SRHR. He has published more than 25 research articles in peer reviewed journals at both national and international level.
Mr Kuldip Chand Nangal is working since 1998 for the development of people especially the weaker sections who are living in subhuman conditions due to lack of knowledge and resources.He is working in the areas of health, education, women empowerment and legal rights. He is associated with various development organisations and is part of government and non-government committees.
Rahi Riyaz Ahmed, born in 1976, is a Post Graduate. He hails from a periphery village of Srinagar District namely Gund Hassi Bhat Lawaypora HMT. Rahi’s strength is his resourcefulness in creating a band of thousands of volunteers whose network is with public and private resourceful persons connected with a galaxy of Social Organisations making government services accessible and available to people in general.
Rahi Riyaz has been a role model in donating of 45 points of blood along with his volunteers who have donated thousands of blood points to save the precious lives in various associated government hospitals of GMC Srinagar. He is regularly giving trainings to educated girls in the state particularly in far-flung areas for dealing with maternal health emergencies particularly pregnant women and those in labour. Rahi Riyaz is founder and Chairman of Ahsan Foundation J&K which is a Secular, Non profit and a non governmental organisation. Rahi and his volunteers of Ahsan Foundation J&K have proudly taken active part in Social Mobilization in Tabacco Control Programme, Education For all, T B care and control, Disaster Management, First Aid trainings, Conservation of Water Resources, Wetlands and Forests, Maternal and Child Health, Plantation drives and Blood Donation campaign.