GUWAHATI, April 26 - The unmet need for family planning is over 14 per cent in Assam, meaning that one in every seven women in the State who want to space or limit births, is not being able to do so for not using contraceptive methods.
The modern contraceptive prevalence rate of Assam is 37 per cent. The rate in urban areas is only marginally higher at 38.4 per cent compared to 36.8 in rural areas.
Further, despite Assam standing at par with the national average in terms of fertility rate of 2.2 per cent, male sterilisation in the State continues to remain abysmally low at 0.1 per cent.
At a roundtable conference organised here today under the aegis of the Global Health Strategies, Dr RK Talukdar, president of the Guwahati Obstetric and Gynaecological Society, said that compared to female sterilisation rate of 9.5 per cent, male sterilisation stands at mere 0.1 per cent, which is a stumbling block when it comes to achieving family planning goals.
�Promoting birth spacing is very pivotal and there has to be a right-based approach to deal with family planning issues,� said Dr Talukdar.
Assam is aiming to provide family planning services to 14 lakh additional women as part of its family planning goals of 2020. However, experts are of the opinion that with just two years to go, the chances of achieving the goal for 2020 look bleak.
�Every 12 minutes, a woman in India dies from pregnancy or child-related complications. Assam has the highest maternal mortality ratio (300 per one lakh live births) in the country, which is almost double the national average (167 per one lakh live births). Many of such deaths can be averted through timely family planning intervention,� Dr Talukdar said.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Vasanti Krishnan, Director, Ipas Development Foundation, dwelt at length on issues relating to gender inequality and the need to popularise contraceptives, including the injectable ones.
Dr Krishnan stressed the need of facilitating better access to the contraceptive basket, round-the-clock service availability and comprehensive abortion care.
�Teenage pregnancy in Assam is another area where there has to be a concerted effort,� Dr Vasanti asserted while also vouching for 100 per cent institutional delivery.
Dr Sukriti Chauhan, Director, Global Health Strategies, and senior journalists Samudra Gupta Kashyap and Sushanta Talukdar were also present on the occasion.