In a shift in its family planning strategy, the Centre has decided to focus more on spacing of children than sterilisation.
Young mothers will be provided two kinds of Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) — Suraksha-5 and Surakhsa-10, an assured method. Suraksha-5 will be recommended for short-term spacing, while Suraksha-10 will give women security for 10 years.
“We have seen that most of the maternal deaths occur in the age group 15-24. We cannot expect women in that age group to go for sterilisation,” Anuradha Gupta, Mission Director of the National Rural Health Mission, told a function held here on Wednesday to mark National Safe Motherhood Day.
The Health and Family Welfare Ministry will train two lakh auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) for IUCD insertions at the sub-centre and primary health centre levels so that women have access to contraceptives on their doorstep. “This would be in addition to the eight lakh Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) who are already involved in distributing condoms,” Ms. Gupta said.
Pointing out that IUCD insertion immediately after delivery would be extremely helpful to women, she said: “It is infection free and does not leave any emotional trauma which is normally associated with sterilisation.”
The ANMs will be trained in IUCD insertion to reduce the workload on doctors who are already few in numbers. IUCD 380A is already available free of cost under the public health system.
Now Cu IUCD 375 will be introduced. These, referred to as Suraksha-5 and Suraksha-10, would be made available on fixed days at health facilities.
The move is expected to help stabilise population in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and other highly populated States where women often do not have access to contraceptives.
Importantly, the Ministry also proposes to increase the number of ambulances available in each district, now just one. “Ambulances will now be need based but with a cap of five in each district. A final decision will be taken at the Mission Steering Group meeting of the NRHM early next week,” Ms. Gupta said. At least one of the ambulances would be an advanced level vehicle with all facilities for trauma, accident and emergency cases.
To improve adolescent health, the Ministry has decided to promote menstrual hygiene and provide weekly iron and folic acid supplements in schools every Monday. Girls outside the school can take their dose from anganwadi centres.