The government is all set to roll out the ‘Mission Parivar Vikas’ programme to improve family planning services in 146 districts that house 28 per cent of the country’s population. The districts, in the seven states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam, have a total fertility rate (TFR) of 3 and above and have been identified as high-focus districts to accelerate access to high quality family planning choices based on information, reliable services and supplies. TFR (the number of children who would be born per woman) has a direct correlation with maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR). “These 146 districts spread across seven states are an obstacle in population stabilization,” Union Health Minister J P Nadda said. Under the programme, the government will study each district to find why fertility rates are higher and will take measures to address them. “The greater the TFR, the more will be the MMR and IMR. Hence, reducing TFR would lead to decrease in maternal mortality and morbidity and infant mortality and morbidity,” Nadda said.
As part of the programme, the health ministry will distribute a kit containing products of family planning and personal hygiene among newly-wed couples. The kits will be distributed by ASHA workers to encourage 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, a senior health ministry official said. ‘Saas Bahu Sammelans’ will be held to facilitate improved communication between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law and bridge the gap in their attitudes and beliefs about reproductive and sexual health.
Besides, special buses called ‘SAARTHI-Awareness on Wheels’ will travel through these districts to generate awareness as well as sensitize the community and disseminate family planning messages. Messages about the same will be disseminated with the help of local actors who can make an impact in the community. The government will also augment sterilization services through enhanced HFD (high fertility district) compensation scheme, roll out injectable contraceptive at sub centre level and generate awareness about condoms and pills.