Haryana achieves 92% annual target for injectable contraceptives
Since injectable contraceptives were extensively launched by the Haryana government in late 2017, over 16,000 women in the state have adopted the method, according to the state health department data, which is 92.3% of the target of 18,000 the department had set for 2018-19.
To help women plan and space their pregnancies, with an ultimate goal of population control, the Haryana government was the first state to push for injectable contraceptives in 2016. The programme, Antara, to promote the use of modern oral contraceptives, was later launched by the ministry of health and family welfare in 2017 in 10 states, including Haryana. The health ministry also inaugurated the Population Stabilization Fortnight on World Population Day on Thursday.
Gurugram was one of the seven districts in the state with a high number of women with unmet needs (those who are fecund and sexually active but are not using any contraception) of 14%, as per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 4. The national unmet need during the same period was 12.9%. Haryana’s fertility rate decreased to 2.1 in 2015-16, as per the NFHS, from 2.7 in 2005-06. The national fertility rate in 2015-16 was 2.2.
As per 2018-19 data, in Gurugram, 839 women adopted the use of injectable contraceptives and according to officials, with 116% of the target number being achieved. Mewat, Panipat, Palwal and Jind too saw more women than the department’s target adopt the method.
Injectable contraceptives can be injected subcutaneously or in the muscles, preventing pregnancy by releasing progestogen in the body. Each dose prevents pregnancy for three months. These injections were made available at government facilities, free of cost, in late 2017.
Under the Antara programme, pregnant women are counselled about family planning and their options to control pregnancy. The injections are administered by trained medical officers and nurses, and counselling is given regularly, said officials.
However, according to experts, the programme is suffering a setback due to non-acceptance of injectable contraception from women. As per a study conducted to assess this issue, published in the latest edition of the International Organisation of Scientific Research, fear about the contraceptive’s side-effects emerged as a major reason for refusal.
The state health department has planned to promote the use of injectable contraception through advertisements and radio announcements. It aims to maintain the fertility rate of 2.1 this year, said officials.
“The focus is on communication to raise awareness and bust misconceptions about the method. This year, the aim is also to roll out the programme to the subcentre level after training staff,” said Dr Usha Gupta, director, family welfare programme. She added that contraceptives will be distributed to accredited social health workers for a larger outreach, and that tele-counselling services will be provided to the users every fortnight.