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    131017

    Choice and a better life in the dusty heart of India.

    Datta B

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD CHALLENGES. 1997; (1-2):22-5.

    Since its inception in 1995, the Family Planning Association (FPA) of India's Small family By Choice project has developed three broad strategies to increase reproductive choice for 4.35 million people living in three of the poorest districts of the country: providing quality clinical services, improving access to health care, and stimulating community participation. The FPA provides scholarships so that girls can attend school where they will acquire a deeper understanding of the need for small families along with employable skills. Another FPA project offers impoverished young women in urban areas the chance to acquire income-generating skills. Trainees also attend health camps where they are provided with gynecological check-ups, pre/postnatal care, and counseling. Other FPA-sponsored programs include community-based adult literacy classes; child care centers in the project's main health clinic; establishment of community-based delivery rooms and training of midwives; community-based distribution of contraception; and management of a full clinic in Bhopal. The project reaches out to marginalized prostitutes by subsidizing a hostel close to a school for their children. Such flexible, needs-based innovations are having an enormous impact. The programs provide a range of choices of high quality contraceptives and have even been successful in promoting the condom. The clinic has served 554 patients from July to early September 1997 and provides counseling to help women improve their decision-making skills.
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