Private health sector has important role to play in achieving family planning goals in India, experts say
Low usage of modern contraceptive methods and less involvement of private healthcare providers are the two major areas of concern to be addressed to achieve India’s family planning 2020 goals, noted experts. Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and Population Services International (PSI) together held a discussion meet on the issue in New Delhi. The two organisations stressed that the potential of private healthcare sector needs to be tapped to achieve India’s ambitious Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) goals.
“Less than expected usage of modern family planning methods among eligible couples and less involvement of private healthcare provider in family planning services are the two major areas of concern that need to be addressed to improve India’s maternal and reproductive health indicators in line with the Family Planning 2020 goals”, deliberations at a national level dissemination organised by FOGSI and PSI noted. Speaking on the occasion, PSI’s Managing Director Pritpal Marjara said, “Adoption of modern contraceptive methods will require increase efforts from private and public sector, while respecting the right of the individual to voluntarism and informed choice”.
Marjara further said that PSI is exploring introducing new contraceptives to increase the basket of choice. “For a long time, no new contraceptives have been introduced in India. New methods have the potential to reinvigorate family planning in India and for this we are working with a range of stakeholders to bring them to India”, he said. The role of pharmacists in improving safe practices and reducing harm due to inappropriate usage of abortion drugs is another area that PSI-FOGSI focused upon.
FOGSI President Prakash Trivedi said, “What we observed is that education of pharmacies on correct dispensing and appropriate counseling resulted in supporting responsible use of medical abortion drugs. “Many women who are unable or unwilling to seek care from trained providers seek medicines from pharmacists, and this puts the latter in an important position. Thus, there is need to devise approaches that successfully improve pharmacists’ dispensing behavior. We need to partner with pharmacists and train them to increase access to safe abortion services in the country”, he added. FOGSI and PSI joined hands in 2009 to advocate support for improving maternal health through use of long acting contraceptives and by increasing access to safe abortions.
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