Prior to the World Population Day that is observed on July 11 every year the Maharashtra government will make injectable contraceptives for women available at public hospitals for free. This contraceptive method for women is included in the Union Government’s National Family Welfare Programme. The inaugration ceremony for the state will be on July 10. It is needed to be injected once in three months and is safe for breastfeeding women. It has already been made available in Mumbai.
“It was already available in the private healthcare system, but it now it has been included in the public sector as well. It’s safe to use and has almost no side effects. The purpose behind these initiatives is to make more options of contraception available,” said Dr Padmaja Keskar, Chief Executive Health officer, BMC.
Currently, there are seven contraceptive methods available under the National Family Welfare Programme and out of which six are for women. According to government data, contraceptive prevalence rate by modern method among married women is 52.1 per cent in India during the year 2016, while the National Health Mission’s thrust areas under the family planning programme are to increase male participation in the process.
Given the fact that the percentage of female sterilisation is way higher than men, Health Mission also aims at promoting non-scalpel vasectomy. According to experts, the mindset needs to be changed in order to increase the male participation.
“Education makes a lot of difference in this mission. I have worked in public as well as private sector and over the years, I have noticed that educated men easily agree to adopt contraceptive methods or to undergo sterilisation,” said Dr Vanita Raut, President of Mumbai Obstetrics and Gynecological Society.
Dr Komal Chavan, Assistant Honorary at Dr RN Cooper Hospital and HBT Medical College, highlighted the social stigma attached to the male participation in the family planning process. She said, “The belief that the childbirth is the only lookout of a woman is still prevalent in the society and it stops men from adopting contraception or undergoing sterilisation. There is still tight hold of myths and taboos on the social mindset which needs to be changed by spreading more awareness.”
According to Dr Sagar Pathak, a gynaecologist and a counselor for sexual problems based in Pune, one of the reasons behind the disparity between the use of female contraception and male contraception is the convenient usage of the former. “There are few medical reasons which may explain the less male participation. Condoms cause little disruption in the sexual activity which may be turn off for many couples. Also, vasectomy needs a buffering period of three months. Whereas, the female contraception methods are easy to follow. Also, women have to take up the burden of pregnancy, so usually they use contraception more.”