Family planning on the footpath

To curb population and mortality rates among homeless, bmc to counsel squatters on long-term contraceptive methods like IUDs, NSVs

In a bid to control the burgeoning population and arrest the dismal rate of maternal and infant mortality among the underprivileged sections, the BMC has decided to counsel the slum dwellers on long-term birth control techniques. 

Spreading the word: Officials say the women living on the roads are
unaware of contraception methods and the counselling will help deal with
the problem of a burgeoning population. Representation pic

The civic body believes the enhanced awareness will promote healthy development of mother and child and improve the quality of life. It has begun training its staff for the awareness drive.  

Special officer with BMC's family welfare unit, Dr Asha Advani, said, "We have observed that people living on footpaths and in shanties have more than two children. It not only adds to the population but also endangers the health of the mother and child." Unplanned and repeated pregnancies in a short period strain the mother's mental and physical health, experts said. Dr Ashok Anand, professor of gynaecology at JJ group of hospitals, said, "As one cannot expect healthy fruit in infertile soil, so it is with children born to undernourished mothers.

We often come across women who have multiple children because they are unaware of contraception methods. This counselling will go a long way in dealing with that problem and improving living conditions."

Long-term solutions
Experts say that temporary methods of birth control like condoms, copper Ts or spermicidal gels are costlier, and more prevalent among the relatively well-off classes. As such, the disadvantaged sections should opt for more lasting solutions. "We want the uneducated classes to adopt more permanent methods of contraception like no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) and intra-uterine devices (IUDs) that provide protection for 10 years," said Dr Advani. Currently, the civic body provides monetary remuneration for men who undergo NSV.

Dr S C Gupta, additional director of the state family welfare bureau, said, "The economically backward class of population is ignorant about methods of contraception in comparison to the educated and financially sound couples. We are now trying to create more awareness about IUDs across the state, which is a good spacing technique."

Child-mother care scheme
To reduce the infant and child mortality rate, the state health department launched the Janani Sishu Suraksha Karyakram last month, a programme that provides pregnant women with pre- and post-natal care, in addition to free transport to the hospital.

"Under the scheme, women with a normal delivery are kept in the hospital for at least three days. Those who have C-sections are hospitalised for a week. The state also provides transport to the mother and child back home," said Dr Gupta.

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