2021 World Population Day: According to experts at a webinar on ‘Addressing Women’s and Girls’ Needs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Family Planning Services during Covid-19 and Beyond,’ technology and increased investment in healthcare are critical to improving women’s reproductive health.
On the occasion of World Population Day on July 11, the Population Foundation of India hosted a webinar to discuss a variety of population-related issues such as family planning, gender equality, maternal health, and social norm transformation.
The panellists emphasised India’s progress toward achieving the population and family planning goals outlined in national policies and global commitments.
The population of India is stabilising, with the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) dropping to 2.2 nearly within the scope of the TFR 2.1 as envisaged in the Indian Population Policy of 2000.
Increased use of modern contraceptives was reported in all 17 surveyed states by the National Family Health Survey, NFHS-5 (phase 1 of 2019-20), while unmet need for family planning in most countries declined.
The government prioritised family planning as the core health service of the Covid-19 emergency, using digital technology, Dr. SK Sikdar, advisor, Ministry for Health and Family Planning.
He told me, “… We need to focus on men and boys and promote an open and integrated dialogue in sexual and reproductive health to achieve gender and health objectives.”
“Covid-19 has exposed health and gender inequality and inequities and inequalities in India,” said Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, founder and chairperson of Biocon Ltd.
“Investment in primary care can play an important role in improving survival and the sustainable future in the well-being of women, mothers, and infants,” she added.
“Covid-19 gives us the opportunity to talk in more detail about equity issues,” said Martyn Smith, interim executive director and managing director, FP2030.
“It’s time for innovation and the use of digital technologies to serve those who are underutilised,” Argentina Matavel, resident representative, India and country director, Bhutan, UNFPA.
This is the time for speeding up and bringing services home.” “Women will respond to anything that comes before them with reason, and women will respond to reasons if you put in front of them rights and choices including the availability of a vast array of contraceptive method and information.”
“To make full use of our advantage, we must protect women and the health, rights and prosperity of youngsters,” said Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, India Population Foundation moderating the webinar.
Coercive policies in the population, which restrict the number of children couples may have, fail to recognise that India has almost reached the total fertility substitution level.
It is now time to safeguard, equip and empower our citizens to ensure that no one is left behind while we develop into a dynamic, young and productive nation.”