In a momentous occasion, 242 societies led by the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) came together with 3 lakh doctors of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to raise awareness about the paradigm shift in contraception methods available today.
In line with the World Population Day theme of 2017, the motto was to empower people with novel ways of family planning for the development of the nation.
According to 'Vision FP 2020', access to family planning can avert 2.39 crore births and 42,000 maternal deaths by 2020. About 21.3 percent of eligible couples in India have unmet need for family planning.
Although the Indian national family planning programme began in the early 1950s and has seen success over the period, there are still challenges such as those of access, choice, gender, equity, and quality.
Speaking on the occasion, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association and President Heart Care Foundation of India and Dr RN Tandon - Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, "People need to be aware about the varied and effective contraception choices that are at their disposal today. These include an irreversible tubectomy, reversible long-acting spacing methods of contraception such as the intrauterine device (effective for 3-10 years) and implants. Recently, many new contraceptive choices have been added such as injectable contraceptives. These are now available under the national family planning programme. We are happy to join hands with FOGSI and together, we shall educate people towards allaying myths and misconceptions about contraceptives as also create awareness on safe family planning methods."
Dr Rishma Dhillon Pai - President and Dr Hrishikesh D Pai - Secretary General, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) in a joint statement shared, "In 2015, over 7 lakh abortions were recorded, which resulted from unwanted pregnancies - as an outcome of the unmet need of contraceptives. According to NFHS IV, current use of family planning methods among married women (15 to 49 years) is 47.8 percent. Therefore, we believe that the impetus for reproductive health services specifically family planning services would come from a more community-based approach which further has a huge potential under Public-Private partnership."
Adding, "We at FOGSI are running a postpartum IUCD programme funded by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) under which we have been successful in the insertion of IUCD among 15,781 patients. With the support of IMA, we aim to expand the programme to all the 242 societies under FOGSI."
Dr SK Sikdar, Deputy Commissioner and HOD, Family planning division of Union Health Ministry, explained, "According to NFHS IV, about 5.7 percent of married women (15-49 years) in India have unmet need for spacing. Our aim is to keep the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of the Indian population to 2.1. Out of 36 states and Union territories of India, 24 of them have already achieved the TFR of 2.1 or less. There is only 1 state in India - Bihar - whose TFR is more than 3. The Government is undertaking a lot of initiatives in the field of family planning. In the rural areas we have ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers who visit the women in the villages and educate them about the new age contraceptives, provide them pregnancy kits etc."
Continuing, "Today we are proud to announce that we have implemented injectable contraceptives in the country. On World Population Day, we need to raise awareness on the efficacy of new-age contraceptives and voluntary access to safe family planning methods."
There are two kinds of family planning options: temporary and permanent. Oral contraceptive pills, male and female condoms, IUCDS, contraceptive injections are some of the temporary methods. Among the permanent methods, both male and female sterilization options are available in India.
While male sterilization is not as popular, it is recommended over female sterilisation.
Emergency contraception is another important option that young adults should be aware of and the right way to use it to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. It is important that they know about Emergency contraceptive pills ( ECPs), so that if they have unprotected sex and find themselves facing the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy and its health and social consequences, they know that they can still act to prevent it.
Instead of the doctor taking a decision on behalf of the couple, the two should together decide on what would be the best method of contraception taking into consideration the personal preferences, and social and cultural factors along with the efficacy, safety, and side effects of different contraceptives.