Public hospitals in Maharashtra are set to launch a new contraceptive pill. Centchroman will be the first non-hormonal contraceptive pill, for the underprivileged people in the state. Apart from increasing the options available under the Family Planning programme, this pill will be a safe option for breastfeeding women who cannot use hormonal contraceptive pills.
The State Family Welfare Bureau (SFWB), under the National Family Welfare programme, has started giving training to the staff and doctors on how to administer this pill. It will be made available at government-run medical colleges attached hospitals, district hospitals and hospitals for women within next two months.
Archana Patil, Additional director of the SFWB, state health department, Pune, said, “We have started giving training to our staff on how to manage the side effects and what to do if they miss to take a pill. Breastfeeding women cannot take hormonal contraceptive and so are dependent on options like condoms or copper-T. With this pill, we are widening the range of available options.”
Nandkumar Deshmukh, Assistant Director, SFWB, Pune, said, “Apart from prolongation of menstrual cycle in some women, it is not known to have any side effects. This side effect is also known to have been reported in very rare cases.”
The pill is a non-steroid, non-hormonal method which should be taken twice a week on fixed days for the first three months, followed by once a week thereafter. It is especially safe for breastfeeding women.
Currently, the government offers five birth control options free of cost in the family planning programme, including female sterilisation, male sterilisation, intrauterine device, condoms and pills. Depo MedroxyProgestrone Acetate (DMPA), an injectable contraceptive, is the sixth modern method that prevents pregnancy, which will be launched in the next two weeks.
However the burden of family planning is still seems to be falling on women. From the total available options, almost 70 per cent of it is availed by women. The state officials said that mentality of both men and women needs to be changed, so that family planning does not remain the prerogative of women.