Udupi and Dakshina Kannada are the top two among the 20 districts of Karnataka where the number of children per couple has been found to be less than two, M. Rukmini, District Reproductive Child Health Officer said.
Speaking at the World Population Day celebration, Dr. Rukmini said the total fertility rate (TFR) in DK, which is the indication of the number of children for a married couple, was 1.38. Udupi tops with total fertility rate of 0.98. “With TFR being less than two we need not hold any birth control awareness camps as we have done for the last three years during this fortnight. Low TFR is a good development,” she said.
Dr. Rukmini said apart from good TFR, the maternal mortality ratio in DK was 79 (79 deaths of mothers for every 1 lakh women who deliver a child) as against the state rate of 178 and country’s rate of 223. The infant mortality rate of the district was at 10.9 per 1000 births as against 38 and 48 in the state and the country respectively. Average life expectancy is around 70 years as against 67 of the state. The birth rate in the district was 11.12 as against a death rate of 3.8.
Though Dakshina Kannada is good in several parameters, Dr. Rukmini said there is need to further reduce the birth rate, especially in areas where there are families with more than four children. A matter of concern was the 10 per cent increase in the population of the district between 2001 and 2011. Young women should plan the number of children they can bear and look after, she said.
Inaugurating the programme, Environment Minister B. Ramanath Rai said the Government will be in a position to provide benefits only when there is controlled growth of population. The district was better placed as it had better rate of literacy, of infant mortality and of maternal mortality. It is the responsibility of youngsters to build a literate society, he said.
Mangalore South and Mangalore North MLAs J.R. Lobo and Mohiuddin Bawa, also spoke at the celebration.