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Centre Seeks IMA Help To Revive Family Planning Drive

The Union health ministry has sought the help of Indian Medical Association (IMA) to revive its flagging sterilization programme in five north Indian states.

The department of family planning in the ministry has identified 1502 districts in Utter Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand as “high fertility zones”. This means that a large number of couples in these 150 districts have more than two children compared to the rest of the country. Utter Pradesh with 58 districts tops the list of five states, followed by Bihar with 36 districts. Of the remaining, Madhya Pradesh has 24 districts, Rajasthan has 20 and Jharkhand has 12 districts where the Government-run health machinery has failed to control the spiraling population graph.

The ministry has written to IMA , a private association of doctors with more than 1600 branches across the country, and has also had meeting with its senior office bearers on the issue.

In a letter to IMA , the department has also admitted that one of the main reasons why family planning programme modules have failed to take off in these rural districts is the lack of “qualified doctors”. PK Hota, secretary, family welfare, says the private health sector is growing at a rate faster than the government. “for example, in Tamil Nadu there are 1380 private clinics which take care of more than 40 per cent of the state’s sterilization programme. The same example can be followed in other states,” Hota says.

Dr Vinay Aggarwal, IMA secretary general, says that Ministry officials contacted his office after learning about IMA’s new scheme “ Aao Gaon Chalen”, launched on August 8 at a village in the Mehsana district of Gujarat. “We are looking at a private-government partner ship with the Ministry has agreed to cover the cost of each sterilization and also give incentive to the doctors,” Aggarwal said. Besides asking for help to spread its family planning programme, the Ministry is also seeking IMA’s help in eradicating leprosy.

The Ministry has identified endemic areas for leprosy in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgrah, Orissa, UP and a few districts in West Bengal and Maharashtra and sought the help of IMA doctors to distribute anti-leprosy drugs in these areas.

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