Population growth is higher in western states of India
Pune, May 14, 2010: The population growth rate in India’s western states is higher than the national growth rate. A high growth rate coupled with poor health infrastructure and low spending on health leads to poor health for the women. As a result, higher than national average maternal mortality and infant mortality rates are a major concern in these states. This was revealed by experts at a two-day regional conference on Health, Population and Social Development, Issues of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, organized by Population Foundation of India here at YASHADA on May 13 and 14, 2010.
According to Dr ML Jain, Director, RCH, Government of Rajasthan, 790.2 million people have been added to the India’s population since 1901. But Rajasthan for example, now has five times the people it did in 1901. A total of 46.2 million people have been added to its population in the last 100 years. On the other hand, family welfare programmes are not growing fast enough. Analysis of sterilization acceptors have shown that couples with two children who opted for it increased from 30.4% in 2005-06 to just 37.8% in 2008-09. A total of 3.17 lakh women opted for sterilization in 2005-06, and their number increased to 3.45 lakhs in 2009-010. Participation of their male partners is not encouraging at all. In 2005-06, about 18,000 male sterilization took place, whereas in 2009-10, it went up by only 9,000. That is in 2009-10, 27,000 men opted for it. The total unmet need for family planning method was 20.1% under District Level Household and Facility Survey -II, whereas the NHFS-II data gives it at 17.9%. He suggested that the situation would improve only if there were trained service providers at the level of the Primary Health Centre. The adoption of a pragmatic communication strategy, provision of the services, capacity building of the grassroot functionaries on family planning methods and counseling and integration of FP issues in the course curriculum of training institutions were other factors that could improve the situation.
Dr Jain said maternal mortality could be reduced if every birth was attended by a skilled health care professional, every woman had access to Emergency Obstetric Care, a referral system that ensured that women who need emergency care could reach it in time and if unwanted pregnancies could be prevented. However, he termed this a ‘distance dream’.
Among others who took part in the discussions on safe motherhood and contraception, were Dr Sharad Iyengar from the NGO ARTH, Ms Pallavi Patel from CHETNA and Mr Vinoj Manning from IPAS, Dr Narendra Gupta from PRAYAS and Mr Dinesh Pandya from JKLC Ltd. The sessions were chaired by Dr Abid Hussain and Mr JC Panth of the Governing Board of PFI.