Women Related Issues Current Affairs - 2020

Women bear uneven burden of family planning through sterilisation: NHM report

According to 11th report of Common Review Mission of National Health Mission (NHM), women bear uneven burden in family planning as they account for more than 93% of sterilisations in the country. The report was based on latest data from Health Management Information System (HMIS) where states upload data on various parameters of NHM including sterilisations. CRM is an external evaluation of the flagship NHM.

Key Highlights of Report

Women continue to bear uneven burden of terminal methods of family planning and sterilisation. In 2017-18 (till October) of the total 14,73,418 sterilisation procedures 93.1 % were female sterilisation (tubectomies) and only 6.8 % were male sterilisation (vasectomy).

This is marginal improvement from earlier years when women accounted for 98% of all sterilisation in the country. In 2015-16, of the total 41,41,502 sterilisations across India under government programmes, 40,61,462 were tubectomies. In 2014-15, out of 40,30,409 sterilisations, 39,52,043 were tubectomies.

The vasectomy or male sterilisation services still remain inadequately available across the country. Despite efforts to make male sterilisation more acceptable, it was found that non-scalpel vasectomy services are available in very few facilities and uptake is negligible in all states.

Vasectomy

Vasectomy or male sterilisation is process of cutting or tying vas deferens which is duct that carries sperm from testes to urethra so that it cannot be released for fertilisation. It is easier process than tubectomy (female sterilisation) which involves blocking or clamping of fallopian tubes so eggs do not reach uterus.

Reasons for low male sterilisation

Reluctance of Indian men to undergo vasectomy or sterilisation stems from history, social taboo and logistical limitations. Forced sterilisations during emergency have given this procedure of family planning bad name. Moreover, misinformation about it robbing men of their strength has made it social taboo and fact that there are no male health workers means these impressions cannot be corrected. Due to male dominate nature of India society, it is also difficult for ASHA worker in village to talk to men about sterilisation.

WHO commends India for reducing maternal mortality ratio by 77%

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended India’s progress in reducing maternal mortality ratio (MMR) by 77%, from 556 per 10000 live births in 1990 to 130 per 10000 live births in 2016. This progress puts India on track towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of MMR below 70 by 2030. India’s present MMR is below Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target.

Key Facts

India has made concerted push to increase access to quality maternal health services with coverage of essential maternal health services which has doubled since 2005. Proportion of institutional deliveries in public facilities has almost tripled, from 18% in 2005 to 52% in 2016 (including private facilities, institutional deliveries).

State-subsidised demand-side financing like Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) has largely closed urban-rural divide traditionally seen in institutional births. JSSK also allows all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions free transport and no-expense delivery, including caesarian section.

Government has put significant emphasis on mitigating social determinants of maternal health. Women in India are now more literate than ever, with 68% are now able to read and write. They are also entering marriage at older age, with just 27% now wedded before age of 18. These factors have enabled Indian women to better control their reproductive lives and make decisions that reflect their own interests and wants.

Moreover, Government also has put in substantive efforts to facilitate positive engagement between public and private health care providers. Public campaigns such as Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan have been introduced with great impact, allowing women access to antenatal check-ups, obstetric gynecologists and to track high-risk pregnancies.