Fitness

Planning right

Five by fifeteen canpaign targets maternal health in India. Photo: N. Rajesh.   | Photo Credit: N_RAJESH+SEP+N_RAJESH - N_RAJESH

In a country with over one billion people, the need to stabilise the population rate has been a subject of speculation and worry for sometime now. To arrest this mounting problem, experts have been suggesting the urgent need to embark on a multi-pronged approach with an efficient public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Extending help on similar lines to the government in its efforts on population control, importantly, to come closer to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 5 by 2015, well-known U.K.-based non-profit organisation Marie Stopes International (MSI) has recently announced to introduce its global campaign Five by Fifteen in parts of India. Excerpts from an e-mail interview with MSI director Martyn Smith and its regional director Yasmin Ahmed.

What is MSI's Five by Fifteen initiative? How is it going to work?

It is an initiative to highlight the positive and proven contribution that voluntary family planning and reproductive healthcare can make to achieving the United Nation's Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 — improving maternal health — by 2015. It will demonstrate that a relentless focus on serving the underserved, innovating and working in partnership can expand family planning and reproductive healthcare and have a positive impact on maternal mortality.

We will focus on three areas — (a) strengthen PPP initiatives in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to reach out to underserved, rural areas where maternal mortality rate is high. That would directly impact in the reduction of maternal mortality rate. (b) organise the very disorganised situation on medical abortion provision through community education and sensitisation, introduction of call centres for counselling and follow-up services, provider training and ensuring supply of quality medical abortion drugs. (c) increased choice, access and delivery of long acting family planning methods to reduce unwanted pregnancy impacting directly on MMR.

MSI India operates as Section 25, not-for-profit company under a formal understanding with the Ministry of Health. The Directorate of Medical, Health and Family Welfare Services, Government of Rajasthan, signed an MoU for expansion of our activities in its 13 districts. MS India is in the process of working out a similar MoU with the UP Govt as well.

How equipped is your campaign to address a sensitive issue like family planning, particularly in the rural areas?

MSI uses a combination of social marketing, behaviour change, communication, social mobilisation and advocacy for generating social support and changing social norms to help women adopt desired behaviour. We work in collaboration with various NGOs, including local NGOs, working in related areas to offer a comprehensive and integrated solution to the issues related to sexual and reproductive health.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 9:11:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/Planning-right/article16119234.ece

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