WHILE the rest of the state is trying to control population by promoting family planning, a public health centre in Chandrapur district – Chandankheda has achieved 100 per cent family planning.
Dr Bansode, ex-medical officer of Chandankheda Primary Health Centre (PHC), says that the bloc comprising 28 villages began the family planning drive two years ago. They were aided by Dyanranjan Yuwak Mandal, an NGO supported by UNICEF. The scenario was different when they began.
Recalls Dr Bansod, “Medical facilities in the PHC were not up to par. There were many lacunas and there was only one medical officer to monitor so many villages.” In September 2006, the people closed the PHC after being dissatisfied with its facilities. It was around this time that he was posted to the PHC. After surveying what facilities people needed urgently, the PHC was reopened. “Then I noticed the Mandal and the good work they were doing for the community. They had started initiating micro-planning in the villages and attended their meetings. With their help, we chalked down plans to improve the health facilities for the community.”
Dr Bansode and the NGO first tackled malnourishment. They managed to eradicate it from the 28 villages that come under their jurisdiction. Next on the agenda was family planning. “We met panchayat leaders and village elders to convince them. Organisng health camps wasn’t enough as we still had to nag people to choose family planning. We wanted people to come on their own,” says Dr Bansode.
The success of the project has been such that from 30-40 per cent coming on their own to PHC for operation or query, the number has risen to 100 per cent. What’s more, the average number of kids is two per family now. And Dr Bansode gives credit to the NGO, which motivated and created awareness about the programme.
In order to woo people, the PHC carried out a mega camp, where lucky draws were held and gifts were given to some of the couples admitted in the hospital under family planning programme. “In the camp, 97 out of 104 cases registered in the PHC, went for family planning operation (60 females and 37 males).
We also implemented the state sponsored Savitribai Phule kanya yojana, where BPL families got money if they went for family planning after two girl children. The money was in the form of bonds and girl children would get it when they turned 18,” he explains. The community was equally supportive of the idea and contributed around Rs 1.65 lakh to organise this camp.
Another feather in the cap was a workshop for couples who got married in 2007. “We invited 54 couples and held a day long session, where we informed them about health, sex life, contraceptives, anemia, the ideal gap for having a second child, etc. The result was that 60-70 per cent couples who attended the workshop, didn’t report pregnancies that year,” says Dr Bansode.
(Published in Sunday Mid day on 31st August, 2008)