Friday, August 31, 2012

16.5% eligible couples don't get help in family planning

Close to 16.5% of eligible couples in Gujarat fail to get their need for family planning addressed, states a state report card compiled by Centre for Health Education, Training and Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA).
The report will be shared at the Global Summit on Family Planning held at London on July 11 as part of World Population Day. It is part of the India report card developed by a group of civil society organisations in the country.
Lack of contraceptives and guidance are reasons for lack of awareness about the family planning issue, says Smita Bajpai, programme officer of CHETNA who helped prepare the state's report card.
The unmet demand for family planning arises in two cases - when the couple wants to space their children (maintain age gap of three years between two kids) or want to limit the number of offspring. Of the total unmet demand, 10% is for limiting number of children.
On what ails the family planning initiatives in the state, Bajpai said that they have been working in several centres and have found that counselling for family planning is extremely weak. “The other reason is that neo-natal mortality in the state is very high. Couples will not seek contraception or family planning if there is no guarantee that their newborn will survive,” said Bajpai.
The state government on its part insists that it has been following a multi-pronged strategy to tackle population explosion.
“This includes encouraging people to adopt birth control measures, which is done by creating greater awareness among them and educating citizens about the advantages of a small family. These measures are proving to be fruitful as the population growth rate in the state has slowed considerably,” said a
senior government official,
requesting anonymity.
Dr Vinu Patel, former deputy director and health and family welfare of the state government, who has worked extensively on the subject, said that contraception alone will not help in the fight against population.
“We have to understand that the poor consider children to be an asset. What we need is a simultaneous effort at poverty alleviation. Family planning and contraceptives alone will not address the problem,” said Dr Patel.
NGO CHETNA saYS lack of contraceptives & guidance are reasons for lack of awareness