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Govt launches new injectable contraceptive to check population growth

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-07-2017 Neetu Chandra Sharma

New Delhi: The union health ministry on Tuesday launched an injectable contraceptive for the public health system and announced various measures to check population growth.

The measures will target 46 districts in seven states, where the total fertility rates (TFR) are above three. These districts contribute to 28% of India’s population, 25-30% of maternal deaths and 50% of infant deaths. Reducing TFR is important because the greater the TFR, the higher will be maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR).

“We have enhanced the basket of contraceptive choices to meet the changing needs of people and have taken steps to ensure quality assured services and commodities are delivered to the last-mile consumers in both rural and urban areas,” health minister J.P. Nadda said while launching the “information, education and communication” campaign on world population day.

The ministry also directed social marketers to intensify efforts for promotion of condoms and pills in these districts. The measures come under the Mission Parivar Vikas programme, begun last year.

The seven states to be covered under these initiatives are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Assam.

Nadda also launched a new software—the Family Planning Logistics Management Information System (FP-LMIS)—to provide information on the demand and distribution of contraceptives to health facilities and accredited social health activists (ASHAs) to strengthen supply chain management.

Under Mission Parivar Vikas, the government plans to place condom boxes at locations such as health facilities and gram panchayat bhavans. The government will also distribute “nayi pahel”, a family planning kit for newlywed couples.

“The family planning kit will be given to newly-wed couples by the ASHA with a view to improve inter-spousal communication and consensual decision-making with regards to their reproductive and sexual health as well as delay the birth of the first child and space the second,” said Nadda.

Vehicles with education and communication material and family planning commodities will be mobilized for far flung areas.

According to the recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV data, the unmet need of contraceptives is 12.9% and this contributes to undesired fertility due to lack of access. Data shows increasing one contraceptive method in an existing basket of choice has resulted in an 8-12% increase in the use of modern contraceptives.

“Addressing family planning needs will bring more couples into the gamut of contraceptive choices and reduce the incidence of unplanned pregnancies in the country. Providing couples access and choice to quality family planning in developing countries has a direct positive impact on indicators of maternal mortality, infant mortality and women’s empowerment,” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India.

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