by Zareen Afridi
Contraception is still a taboo in India where many women are not fully aware of its need, in a country which is soon going to surpass China in coming years in the terms of population expansion. Modern contraceptives are being given greater acceptance importance. The government of India is also making efforts to improve and implement spacing methods. The availability of more options not only gives more choices to the couples but also acts as a big barrier to unwanted pregnancies.
A significant step has been taken in this direction by introducing the Mission Parivar Vikas program in India. Under this step, new methods like Antara, an injectable contraceptive and Chhaya (Centchroman) are familiarized in 10 states of India.
Dr. Kalpana Apte, Secretary General of the Family Planning Association of India (FBAI) and representative of Advocating Reproductive Choices (ARC) says that the introduction of these two methods is an encouraging move. A third new method that is Progestin-only pills is underway. She stresses that couples should have all options open after proper counselling.
Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of Population Foundation of India and representatives of ARC points that millions of Indian women lack access to contraceptive options or are fearful of using them. This is due to lack of awareness that affects not only the maternal and Infant health but also hinders public health.
The Mission Parivar Vikas aims to impart contraceptive options in high fertility areas of the country so that maximum protection is ensured from unwanted pregnancies.
Vinoj Manning, Executive Director, Ipas Development Foundation says that it is time we join hands with government to ensure that contraceptive methods are readily available to anybody in need, especially in rural and remote areas. The campaign has the vision- ‘Every Pregnancy is Wanted’. Combined efforts of the government, ARC and Ipas will help in the realization of this goal.
Speaking with Dr. Manju Chhugani, Gynecologist and Principal of Rufaida College of Nursing, Jamia Hamdard University, says that contraceptives can be taken by any woman who wishes to have short term or long term gap in pregnancy. Generally, women who are breastfeeding or are suffering from migraines, cardiovascular diseases or cancer are prohibited from taking any contraceptives.
Dr. Chhugani also says that myths regarding contraceptives about hindered fertility are unbiased. In cases of IUD (Intrauterine Device), fertility rate is
returned within 1 to 4 weeks of removal whereas in cases of tablets, fertility can be returned within 1-7 days of not taking pills.
Thus we see that family planning is a tool that can go a long way in averting this vicious cycle of unplanned pregnancies. This not only may help in creating more happy and satisfied families but may also aid an economic growth and less burden on the country.
Advocating Reproductive Choices ARC is the coalition of 170 + organisations and individuals who are advocating attention and focus to sexual and reproductive health issues in India. Set up in 2005, ARC aiims to make contraceptive choices available to almost every household so that quality of family planning can be attained. At present, ARC has its chapters in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and is planning to expand to more states and districts of India.
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