Thirteen of India’s best-known sex and reproductive health experts will take part in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2017 to create awareness about family planning as well as maternal and infant deaths. The experts from Family Planning Association of India (FPA India) will spread the initiative, Run4FP, on January 15 in the dream run segment of SCMM 2017.
FPA India is India’s oldest reproductive and sexual health organisation. Experts said the initiative is an effort to bring back the focus on family planning (FP), where women as well as youth have access to safe FP services, and on a woman’s right to make a choice on how many children she wants and when.
“It is a great privilege to participate in the first Run4FP. I truly believe that family planning saves lives in countless ways and protects the health of women and children. We at FPA India believe that it is one area in nation building,” said Umesh Aradhya, President, FPA India.
The 2011 population census revealed 30.2 % of all married women (or 10.3 crore girls) were married before they turned 18. Experts said that they (young married women) also face extreme pressure to have a baby immediately after marriage.
“The large population of India not only impacts its own, but also the global health indicators. India has adopted Vision FP 2020 through which an additional 48 million women (from existing 100 million) would be provided contraceptives to put a stop at one million infant deaths, 42,000 maternal deaths and whopping 23.9 million child births by 2020,” said an FPA official.
Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India (PFI), said she feels that to reduce maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, the ministry of health and family welfare should seriously look towards increasing contraceptive choices for men and women. “Introducing more modern spacing methods as well as substantially increasing the budgets for family planning are the two key areas. Health education in schools for the young and adolescent is another important aspect. The need for effective family planning has never been greater than it is today as the largest group of people in Indian history move through their reproductive years,” she explained.
The thirteen experts
Amita Dhanu, FPA India
Anand Sinha, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (India)
Denny John, International Centre for Research on Women’s (ICRW), Asia Regional Office,
Dr Kalpana Apte, FPA India,
Dr Nina Puri, FPA India
Dr Nisha Gupta, Public Health Consultant
Poonam Karla, Tulika Foundation (media firm)
Poonam Muttreja, Population Foundation of India (PFI)
Sharad Aggarwal, Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (India)
Sujatha Natarajan, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
Umesh Aradhya, FPA India
Varun Anand, International Planned Parenthood Federation, South Asia Region (IPPF-SAR).
Tom Alter, Actor