‘Maternal mortality rate in DK high’

Women have no control over their bodies and must listen to whatever men decide for them (on issues of their reproductive health), said Poornima J., obstetrician and gynaecologist and Senior Specialist, Lady Goschen Hospital.

She was speaking at a programme organised by the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, the district administration, and the Department of Health and Family Welfare, to raise awareness of the Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act held in the office of the District Health Officer on Wednesday.

She said that despite being educated, women could do nothing about deciding on issues of their health. One of the results was that the maternal mortality rate in the district was very high as women were subjected to repeated deliveries and men would not use family planning methods.

“Men don’t go to vasectomy programmes at all,” she said.

She said that there was an impression that people in Dakshina Kannada were educated and did not go for tests such as sex determination of foetuses. However, people from the district go to other places such as Bangalore and Mandya and get the test done.

Parents reinforce gender roles with children as they grow. Boys were discouraged from doing household chores. But a girl was made to do these and more but their efforts were not acknowledged.

With increasing education, it was more difficult to convince people to opt for procedures such as vasectomy, said M. Rukmini, District Reproductive and Child Health Officer. She said: “Education is an obstacle, it is easy with those who are unschooled,” she said.

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