Focus on repositioned family planning strategies adopted

India will showcase the achievements made under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in improving reproductive and child health at a three-day Women Deliver Conference that begins here on Tuesday.

Focus will also be on the ‘repositioned’ family planning strategies adopted in population control, which are now based more on spacing of children by promoting the use of contraceptives than sterilisation, which is a permanent method.

The National Urban Health Mission, just cleared by the government to address the health needs of 100 million urban poor, would be another talking point.

“There has been a dramatic decline in India’s child and maternal mortality figures since 2008 after the NRHM was rolled out. In fact, the decline in India’s under-five mortality and maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has been sharper than the global figures,” Anuradha Gupta, additional secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Mission Director, NRHM, told The Hindu .

Ms. Gupta will officially represent India at the conference. Dubbed as the largest global conference on girls’ and women’s health and empowerment of the decade, the meet will see a gathering from across the globe.

Participants will include heads of state, government and United Nations and development officials, youth, corporate executives, healthcare professionals, academics, and advocates deliberating on one common thing — commitment to improving the lives of girls and women.

With the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline nearing, the conference will be an opportunity to strategise about the way to 2015 and beyond, while highlighting success stories and ongoing challenges to improve the health and well-being of girls and women.

In 1990, when MDGs were marked, India’s under-five mortality was 114 deaths per 1,000 live births, whereas the global average was just 87. According to the 2011 official statistics, only 55 Indian children die in the first five years of their life and globally the figure is 51. “The figures show that the decline in India has been to the tune of 51.8 per cent while globally it is 41.37 per cent. In terms of numbers, 2.85 million children died annually in India in 1990, against 1.45 million in 2011. This includes a larger number of children born now as did in 1990,” Ms. Gupta explained.

Similarly, on the MMR front, 600 women died for every 1,00,000 live births in 1990, while the global figure was 400. Now, it has decreased to 212, whereas the global average is 260. “Again, the decline is 65 per cent in India whereas it is 35 per cent globally,” she said.

“India has stepped up financial resources for health, strengthened health systems and focused on reproductive and child health while prioritising rural, marginal and vulnerable populations. We have made a paradigm shift from reproductive and child health to reproductive, maternal, newborn child health and adolescent approach which includes emphasis on spacing through doorstep delivery of contraceptives, intrauterine device contraceptives services and sub centres and post delivery family planning services, in addition to ante and post natal care,” Ms. Gupta said.

  • “Decline in India’s under-five mortality and MMR has been sharper than global figures”

  • “MMR in 2011 decreased to 212 from 600 in 1990”