Contraception choices to be widened, govt tells SC

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that states have agreed to enlarge the scope of contraceptive choices to rejuvenate the family planning programme with an aim to reduce the maternal mortality rate.

The Centre also said that all details about deaths, failures and complications resulting from contraception practices would be computerised.

Various states have also decided that sterilisation services would be provided in client friendly manner in a conducive environment after taking informed consent.

In an affidavit, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that the states would also conduct workshops on quality in sterilisation services both at the state and district level on the updated manuals on standards, male and female sterilisation and family planning indemnity scheme.

With regard to the issue of shortage of pool of providers for sterilisation, the government said  compulsory training of MBBS medical officers would be provided when they join government service.

“There should be more thrust on minilap sterilisation as it leads to fewer failures and complications. The scope of increasing the basket of contraceptive choices like injectables/implants and weekly pills like ‘Saheli’ be explored urgently to provide more choice,” the government said.

The government has filed its response to the apex court direction issued on April 17, while hearing a PIL filed by Devika Biswas.

The court had then directed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to hold meeting with states officials to arrive at a consensus on the effective implementation of the various schemes relating to Family Planning Indemnity Scheme, 2013.

The ministry said it has been decided that every case of sterilisation death must be audited as per format laid down and reported to the Centre.

“Line listing of deaths and failures to be undertaken district/facility wise and surgeon wise. Disbursal of claims for deaths, failures and complications should be computerised. To address the issue of failures, sterilisation certificates should be issued after at least month in case of female sterilisation and after three months in case of male sterilisation,” the affidavit stated.

The Centre also decided to conduct high level meeting with all states to acquaint them with the latest policies and programmes on a yearly basis.

As part of review of the family planning services, workshops were conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Odisha, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Bihar and Rajasthan. The Centre said that the remaining states would also be covered by the end of August.

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