Non-profit bodies seek to achieve family planning goals

Non-profit bodies seek to achieve family planning goals

A group of non-profit organisations have sought long-term engagements of at least five years with private partners to meet the gap in demand and supply of contraceptives. (TPML Photo)

A group of non-profit organisations have sought long-term engagements of at least five years with private partners to meet the gap in demand and supply of contraceptives, saying India's family planning goals too are aimed for long term results.

In their recommendations to the Union Health Ministry, the group sought to designate independent consultants to reduce the risk of private and public partners and give them a neutral, but qualified, agency to manage projects, including verification of claims and processing payments.

The recommendations were an outcome of a national consultation held by the Population Foundation of India (PFI) in collaboration with the Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust and John Snow India that deliberated on studies focused on strengthening India's family planning programme through social franchising and social marketing of contraceptives.

"As India's family planning goals are long-term, the FP programmes need longer term partnerships, at least for five years and preferably for 8 to 10 years, could be considered," the group stated in their recommendations.

"The government may consider reviewing its 'one service, one rate' system and adopt an assessment of the cost of services. This may be better resolved with a competitive bidding process."

This refers to contraceptive services.

For example, the empanelled private provider is paid Rs 2,500 per case of tubectomy from National Health Mission funds, if the private provider is in a Mission Parivar Vikas district and Rs 2,000 for per case of tubectomy for non-MPV districts, a government official explained.

"The state government may add its share to this amount. This amount is fixed, irrespective if the provider is based in a metropolitan city or in a remote rural district, or if the provider is a large, multi-speciality hospital, or a family-run nursing home. The current arrangement does not account for the cost that a hospital incurs when providing FP services, which may vary from one hospital to another," the official said.

India has been a global pioneer in social marketing of contraceptives and according to forecasts, the contraceptive market in India is set to be USD 200-million strong by 2021 but there remains a substantial gap between demand and supply of modern contraceptives.

"We need to improve the indicators of family planning, health and nutrition in aspirational districts to match the national average and to be able to achieve the SDGs. We need at least 90 pc coverage of the key interventions in addition to ensuring the quality of services to achieve health and nutrition goals," Alok Kumar, an adviser at NITI Aayog, said.

Poonam Muttreja, executive director of PFI, said India is a young country with nearly 232 million in this age group which presents it with an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate economic development and reduce poverty.

"As high as 24 million young Indian women between the ages of 15-24 do not want to get pregnant but are not using contraceptives for many reasons including lack of access to services. Private sector engagement in family planning is therefore critical to supplement and complement the government services," Muttreja said.

The central government has a social marketing programme since 1968.

It has a partnership with social marketing organisations (SMOs), usually non-governmental organisations. Currently, the government enters into a three-year contract, but due to administrative delays, the fully executed contract is usually for less than 3 years.

Most state governments enter into annual contracts for social franchising partnerships.  

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