Encouraged by PM’s call on family planning: Population Foundation of India

The organization said it is highly encouraged by the Prime Minister’s call to improve awareness and showcase positive behaviors for motivating people to adopt family planning.

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New Delhi: “The Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech highlighted the need for planned families. We welcome his statement and reiterate the need for greater investments in family planning to achieve population stabilization. This would help us achieve greater socio-economic development and meet the sustainable development goals India has committed to,” mentioned the statement from the Population Foundation of India.

The statement further pointed out that as per the National Family Health Survey of 2015-16, the wanted fertility rate in the country is 1.8, which means that women do not want to have more than two children. On the other hand, there is a high unmet need for family planning – an estimated 30 million currently married women in the age group 15-49 years and 10 million young women in the age group 15-24 years wish to delay or avoid pregnancy but do not have access to contraceptives for various reasons. Much greater attention has to be paid for expanding the basket of contraceptive choices, with specific focus on spacing methods, to match the needs of a large young population. Budgetary allocations and spending on family planning have to be raised, especially to provide birth spacing methods, adequately train health workers, ensure quality of service delivery and invest in behavior change communication.

PFI statement outlined that 24 states and Union Territories have already achieved replacement level (2.1) or lower fertility rates by investing in education, better health services, and access to family planning. Fertility rates have dropped with rising age at marriage and reduction in teenage pregnancies, as well as with higher education of girls. The organization said it is highly encouraged by the Prime Minister’s call to improve awareness and showcase positive behaviors for motivating people to adopt family planning.

Population Foundation of India advocates for a rights-based, voluntary approach to family planning. We call for a policy that ensures gender equality and empowers women and men to be able to exercise their choice by providing adequate information and services within their reach, concluded the statement.