Rural areas in high— fertility districts will now get an easy and private access to free condoms. The government is planning to place condom boxes at locations such as health facilities and Gram Panchayat Bhavan.
The arrangement will be made under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Mission Parivar Vikas for high-fertility districts. Union Health Ministry has also directed social marketers under the government’s scheme to intensify their efforts for promotion of pills and condoms in over 146 districts, with Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 3 and above. At least 56 per cent of the 261 districts are in the seven High Focus States i.e. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
“These districts are currently contributing to 28 per cent of India’s population, 25 to 30 per cent of maternal deaths and 50 per cent of infant deaths. TFR has a direct correlation with Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). The greater the TFR, the more will be the MMR and IMR. Hence, reducing the TFR would lead to decrease in maternal mortality and morbidity and infant mortality and morbidity,” said J P Nadda, Union Health Minister.
In these districts, Health Ministry will also roll out injectable contraceptive MPA (Antara) and Centchroman (Chhaya), non-steroidal oral contraceptive pills, at one go till sub-centre level. Apart from looping in local actors to promote family planning, 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 a health ministry official.
“In order to generate and increase awareness as well as sensitise the community and disseminate family planning messages in far flung areas, special buses and vans equipped with communication material, information, education and communication material and family planning commodities will be mobilised during the Mission Parivar Vikas fortnights.