In order to improve family planning services, the Union government is all set to roll out “Mission Parivar Vikas” programme in 146 districts that house 28 per cent of the country’s population. The high density population districts in the seven states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam, have a total fertility rate (TFR) of three and above. These districts have been identified as high-focus areas 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 stabilisation,” Union health minister J P Nadda said.
As part of 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,” Mr Nadda said.
Under the programme, the health ministry will distribute a kit containing products of family planning and personal hygiene among newly-wed couples.
A senior health ministry official said that 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.
The government will organise ”Saas Bahu Sammelans” 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. Also, special buses called Saarthi —Awareness on Wheels will travel through these districts to generate awareness as well as sensitise 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.