This report describes the collaboration between ACCESS Health International and Karnataka State Health Systems Resource Center to provides a rapid assessment of the Thayi Bhagya Scheme. Initiated in 2009, this partnership between the government of Karnataka and private hospitals provides poor women with access to medical professionals specializing in women’s and children’s health. An increase in births at medical institutions will hopefully reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.

Reduction in childbirth associated mortality is a priority for most developing countries. Karnataka, India, faces an acute shortage of specialist doctors, especially gynecologists, anesthetists, and pediatricians, at Community Health Centers and government hospitals. This lack has proved to be an obstacle in providing adequate reproductive and child healthcare. At the same time, there are a considerable number of such specialists in private hospitals. In response, the government of Karnataka and the National Rural Health Mission, launched by the government of India in 2005, formed the Thayi Bhagya Scheme to prioritize reproductive and child health through a focus on institutional deliveries and prenatal care.

The Thayi Bhagya Scheme is now operational in eight districts. This report evaluates its implementation and performance, and provides recommendations for strengthening the scheme. Its success can serve as an example to other countries with similar deficiencies in medical reproductive specialists.