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    India: mass communication in the family planning programme.

    Patel BP

    [Unpublished] 1969 Jun. Paper presented to the UNESCO Conference on Family Planning Mass Communication. 10 p.

    India's 4th 5-Year Plan (1969-74) aims to restore a balance between births and deaths by decreasing the birth rate from the present level of 39/1000 to 25/1000 within the next 10 years. The family planning program gives equal emphasis to all appropriate methods of contraception, with the choice of method left to the individual. 5% of total outlay on family planning is targetted at mass education to get the population to accept and adopt the norm of a small family. Among the obstacles confronting such a campaign are the vastness of the country, its low education and literacy levels, diverse languages, social and cultural differences, low standard of living, and resistance to change. Moreover, only 25% of the population has access to the mass media. On the other hand, factors facilitating family planning objectives include favorable attitudes toward limitation of family size, the lack of organized religious or social opposition, support from many organizations, and government commitment to provide free family planning services and supplies and to establish a network to provide such services. At the central level, the Mass Education and Media Division of the Department of Family Planning designs communication strategies, provides guidelines to the states, works with national opinion leaders, and prepares materials. The states adapt central policies to the local context and plan the details of mass education campaigns in their areas. At the district and town level, indigenous channels of education, e.g., song and drama troupes, are utilized. District Family Planning Bureaus are provided with a mobile audiovisual unit and portable exhibition set. Thus, the family planning mass communication campaign involves a combination of standard national media and local interpersonal channels. The 1st phase of the mass media campaign was aimed at the concept of family limitation through repetition of a simple meaningful message: "2 or 3--that will do." When this phrase was used visually, it was accompanied by the symbol of the family planning program. The 2nd phase of the campaign introduced the notion of spacing through the slogan, "Next child--not now: After 3--never." Individual methods of contraception, including sterilization, condoms, and the loop, were stressed. The mass communication campaign is credited with creating largescale awareness of the need for family size limitation. According to 1 survey, 70% of the population now favors family planning.
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