Data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) shows significant improvements in women’s reproductive health care.
- India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has fallen below the replacement level to 2.0 for the first time. TER is the average number of children per woman.
- The use of modern contraceptives for family planning has increased from 47.8% to 56.5%. Also, family planning (any option) has improved from 53.5% in NFHS-4 to 66.7%. Institutional deliveries at all India level have increased from 79 per cent in NFHS-4 to 89 per cent.
- The percentage of women in the age group of 20-24 years married before the age of 18 has improved from 26.8% to 23.3%.
- Reproductive health was defined by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994. This definition included approaches to promoting voluntary and safe sex and reproductive choices, including decision-making on family size and the right time of marriage.
Measures taken by the government to improve reproductive health:
- The National Population Policy, 2000 promotes the continuation of voluntary and informed choices and goal-free approaches in family planning service delivery.
- Conditional cash transfer schemes to beneficiaries like Janani Suraksha Yojana (to promote institutional deliveries) and other schemes including Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) etc.
- Access to safe abortion practices has been ensured through the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021 (MITPA).
Challenges in Reproductive Health Care:
Lack of awareness and education, child marriage, financial dependence of women, challenge of access to modern contraceptives and illegal abortion.
The distance to clinics and health centers, especially in rural areas, hinders decision-making about contraception and reproductive health care.
National Family Health Survey
Source – The Hindu