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Times of India
17 May 2010
Pune, India

Health Facilities Lag Behind Population Growth: Expert
Growth rate of population in western Indian states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra is faster than the national growth rate, but the same is not matched by the health infrastructure, which prevails in these states. This is further leading to poor health conditions, said M L Jain, director, Reproductive Child Health (RCH) Programme, government of Rajasthan.

Jain was in the city to deliver a lecture at two–day regional conference on ‘Health, Population and Social Development, Issues of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan’, organised by the Population Foundation of India (PFI), New Delhi. The conference concluded at Yashada recently.

Elucidating his point, Jain said, “As a result of this population explosion, increased maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate have become major concerns for the western states of India.”

The population growth of India in the last 100 years has been four times faster as 790.2 million people have been added to the population since 1901. But in western states like Rajasthan, the growth has been more than five times. Total 46.2 million people have been added to the population of Rajasthan and it is projected that it will grow three times faster in the current century.”

Jain said the scope of family welfare programmes has not expanded that rapidly. Analysis of sterilisation acceptors have shown that couple with two children have increased from 30.4 per cent in 2005–06 to just 37.8 per cent in 2008–09, he added.

A total of 3.17 lakh woman went for sterilisation in 2005–06 and it has increased to just 3.45 lakh in 2009–010. Participation of their male partners is not encouraging at all. In the year 2005–06, male sterilisation was just about 18,000, whereas in the year 2009–10 it went up to only just above 9,000.

“The situation will only improve if there is availability of trained service providers at the PHC level, adoption of pragmatic communication strategy in tandem with the provision of the services,

capacity building of the grassroots functionaries on basic information on family planning (FP) methods and counselling and integration of FP issues in the course curriculum of training institutions,” said Jain. As far as reduction of maternal mortality is concerned, Jain said that it is possible only if every birth is attended by a skilled health care professional and every woman has access to Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC).

Among others who took part in the discussions were Sharad Iyengar from NGO Arth, Pallavi Patel from Chetna and Narendra Gupta from Prayas. The sessions were chaired by Abid Hussain and J C Panth of the governing board of PFI.

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