New Delhi, May 6
The latest and fifth round of National Family Health Survey report published on Friday shows development is the best contraceptive and economic investments yield high public health returns.
The findings reveal that contraceptive use increases in communities and regions that have seen more socio-economic progress.
The NFHS-5 detailed report (parts of it were released late last year) reveals that unmet need for family planning methods is the highest among the lowest wealth quintile of 11.4 per cent and the lowest among the highest wealth quintile of 8.6 per cent.
Use of modern contraceptives further increases with income — 50.7 per cent of women in the lowest wealth quintile use contraception as against 58.7 per cent in the highest quintile.
The data also shows that women who are employed are more likely to use modern contraception. Nearly 66.3 per cent of women who have jobs use a modern contraceptive method as compared to 53.4 per cent of women who are not working. “This data proves that development is the best contraceptive,” says Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of Population Foundation of India. She said while there was much to celebrate in the NFHS-5 data, India’s focus should now be to reach the unreached.
“We must do more for the marginalised sections of the society, who may be underprivileged on the basis of class, identity or geography,” the expert added.
In positive signs, the data highlights that knowledge of contraceptive methods is almost universal in India.
More than 99 per cent of currently married women and men aged between15 and 49 know at least one modern method of contraception. However, the use of modern contraceptives for family planning stood at only 56.4 per cent. Another matter of concern is female sterilisation continuing to be the most popular method of contraception, showing that the onus of family planning continues to be on women. “We need to increase the number of birth-spacing methods in the public health system, given that we have a large young population in the reproductive age group, which contributes to 70 per cent of our population momentum,” Muttreja notes.
Data present encouraging numbers on the population control front, but equally mirrors vast inter-regional variations. Five states still have not achieved a replacement-level of fertility of 2.1 — the rate at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next.
These are Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26) and Manipur (2.17).
She said the country needed to prioritise investment in providing quality sexual and reproductive health information and services, education, skill-building and gender equality initiatives for the youth.
1 in 3 men say contraception women’s business
The NFHS 5 report that surveyed 6.37 lakh households and reached 7.24 lakh men and 1.01 lakh women says 35.1 per cent men in the country believe contraception is a woman’s business, with the highest percentage of men 69% in Chandigarh bearing this belief. Similarly, 19.6 per cent men said women who use contraceptives may become promiscuous.
22% men, 1% women consume alcohol
Alcohol is mainly a male problem, shows National Family Health Survey 5 with 22% males surveyed saying they consumed booze as against 1% women. On tobacco use, 39% males and 4% females said they use it in some form.
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