Dr. M. L. Jain, the Director of Reproductive Child Health in Rajasthan, has reaffirmed the state’s commitment to provide access to comprehensive family planning services to all women by promoting this life-saving intervention throughout the health system.
In a Dec. 13 letter, Dr. Jain announced a variety of family planning methods would be made available to women and that “every opportunity to interact with the client and her family should be tapped to send home a family planning message- right from the Antenatal visits, to hospitalization for delivery, to post delivery immunization visits to the facilities.”
The state’s commitment to pursue a robust family planning strategy already has included JananiSurakshaYojana (JSY), a safe motherhood program that offers cash assistance to encourage women to give birth in a health facility, and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), which provides completely free and cashless services to pregnant women including normal deliveries and caesarean operations and sick newborns in government health institutions in both rural and urban areas. As a result of these two initiatives, the State has achieved more than 75% institutional deliveries. This provides an excellent opportunity to the State to counsel and motivate clients to adopt a family planning method.
The state of Rajasthan has been supported in these efforts by the Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Jhpiego, a global health non-profit organization and Johns Hopkins affiliate. Jhpiego is providing technical assistance to the Government of Rajasthan in revitalizing postpartum family planning and introduce postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device (PPIUCD) services in selected districts. Jhpiego is also helping the government of Rajasthan in scaling up the PPIUCD program to all the district hospitals in the State by March 2012.
The state’s renewed committed resulted from a 2-day meeting held last fall and chaired by the Principal Health Secretary, Mr. Badri Narayan Sharma. The meeting was attended by key representatives of all the 33 districts of Rajasthan. Also present were the Directors and Additional Directors of RCH division of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), State Institute of Health and Family Welfare (SIHFW), demographers, partner agencies, UNFPA, state level master trainers, family planning managers and high focus district facilitators.
This focus on family planning and the stress on the postpartum period should greatly help in reducing the infant mortality rate (IMR- 63%) and maternal mortality ratio (MMR-318), which is much higher than the national average of 53% IMR and 212 MMR.