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    106881
    Peer Reviewed

    India urged to rethink family planning programme.

    Kumar S

    Lancet. 1995 Jul 29; 346(8970):301.

    The World Bank, in "India's Welfare Programme: Towards a Reproductive and Child Health Approach," a review done with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, makes the following recommendations: 1) eliminate method-specific contraceptive targets and incentives, and replace them with broad reproductive and child health goals and measures; 2) increase the emphasis on male contraceptive methods (which account currently for only 6% of contraceptive use); 3) improve access to reproductive and child health services; 4) increase the role of the private sector by revitalizing the social marketing program; and 5) encourage experimentation with an expanded role for the private sector in implementing publicly funded programs. Since the launch of the family planning program in 1951, mortality has fallen by two-thirds, and life expectancy at birth has almost doubled. However, the population has almost doubled since 1961. By 2025, it is expected to be 1.5-1.9 billion. By 1992, India had achieved 60% of its goal for replacement fertility (2.1 births per woman), decreasing from 6 births per woman in 1951-1961 to 3-4 births per woman. Meeting India's unmet need for family planning would allow the replacement fertility goal to be reached. Female education and employment would add to the demand for smaller families and assure continuing declines in fertility and population growth rate. The report also highlights problems in implementation of the program, including program accessibility and quality of care. The report cites National Family Health Survey data which shows that only 35% of children under 2 received all six vaccines in the program, while 30% received none. The bank's "1993 World Development Report" recommended spending $5.40 per head for maternal and child health and family welfare programs; India spends $0.60. Massive borrowing will be required.
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