November 17, 2010

Government proposes four-point agenda for population stabilisation

The Centre has proposed a four-point agenda for population stabilisation in the country which includes setting up a separate division in the Health Ministry dedicated to the cause.

These divisions would also be set up at the state, district and block level. This division will focus on providing access to services by co-opting the private sector and also undertaking advocacy efforts at the village level and upwards, the Health Ministry proposed at the latest meeting of the population commission.

Establishment of post-partum centres, which deal with post-delivery services, in all such facilities where institutional deliveries are being conducted, providing contraceptives at doorsteps through village ASHAs (health workers) and enhancing compensation for women undergoing sterilisation are the other steps which are being mulled.

Speaking at the meeting of the population commission recently, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said at present, the supply of contraceptives is made by the Central Government to the states.

"Most of the time these supplies do not reach below the district level. We, therefore, propose to introduce a new system under which contraceptives will be available at the doorsteps at the village level through the ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists) who are our community-based workers.

"This would enable the village community to have direct and easy access to contraceptives. Appropriate incentives for ASHAs to undertake home delivery of contraceptives are being worked out," he said.

Azad said the government was also proposing to substantially enhance compensation for women undergoing sterilisation from the current level of Rs 600.

The meeting of the commission was attended among others by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Harshvardhan of BJP, Sharad Pawar of NCP, Union Ministers Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni and chief ministers of some states.

Experts suggested improved health care, availability of family planning services, literacy and empowerment.

To help the cause of population stabilisation, the Health Ministry has also zeroed in on population stabilisation as the theme in the health pavilion at this year's trade fair beginning here from November 14.

Link: Original Article

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