CHENNAI: There have been a number of developments in family planning services. A prominent one was the rollout of the injectable contraceptive Antara by the State Health Department. More stress has to be on periodical reviews and monitoring of proper implementation of Family Welfare Programmes. The availability of trained doctors at the PHC level to offer safe abortion services and emergency contraception as part of National Health Mission are vital factors. The social marketing of condoms and OCP and ECP by health workers are some developments that can help in the field of family planning, say experts.
Even as the government continues to push for new methods of contraceptives to boost family planning, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4 revealed that Tamil Nadu has seen no progress in oral pills usage. 0.20 percent was recorded both in NFHS 3 and 4, with no changes. On World Contraception Day, medicos discussed the significance and need of various services and developments in family planning services in the State.
“The government perseveres to launch initiatives for new contraceptive methods including sterilisation, condoms, birth control pills, injectable contraceptives. Intrauterine devices are available as a safe method of contraception. Usage of contraceptive options can help to bring down the mortalities,” said Dr P Vasanthamani, dean, Kilpauk Medical Hospital. Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) said, “The rollout of the new contraceptives is an encouraging move. Couples should have access to every available contraceptive choice along with the appropriate counselling in all states. However, initiatives such as Mission Parivar Vikas should not be restricted to districts with high fertility rate, but should avail access of contraceptives in all states”.
Executive director of Population Foundation of India, Poonam Muttreja said, "Women lack access to contraceptive options or are fearful of using them due to lack of information about the choices that are available to them. This has an impact not only on the maternal and infant health indicators but also, by extension, on the public health indicators and development of the country”.
Only 0.3 per cent men opt for sterilisation
The decreasing number of the men opting for sterilisation exposes the grim reality: Birth Control is woman's concern. Despite a huge cry from the doctors supporting the sterilisation among men, there seems to be no improvement. Statistics from the National Family Health Survey 4 indicated only 0.3% men opted for sterilisation in 2015, although 1% of them opted in 2005, The highest has been the female sterilisation which stands at over 75%, followed by condoms (10%), birth control pills (6%), and intrauterine devices (4%). “We need to talk about women’s equality and reproductive rights. Men need to be counselled and we need more men trained in providing vasectomy,” said senior gynecologist Dr R Shanti.