Guwahati, Nov. 26: Assam has extended a helping hand to Meghalaya to arrest the population explosion in the neighbouring state.
Meghalaya has recorded the highest population growth among the northeastern states with a decadal growth rate of 30.65 per cent against the national average of 21.54 per cent. Its fertility rate is also the highest in the region at 3.8 per cent.
Dr Ilias Ali, the trainer-cum-nodal officer of the male and female sterilisation programmes in Assam, told this correspondent that he had trained two doctors from Shillong Civil Hospital and a primary health centre at Jowai in Jaintia Hills district to conduct sterilisation surgeries in Meghalaya.
“A team of surgeons from Assam will train more than 100 doctors from Meghalaya to perform no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) and tubectomy for sterilisation of men and women respectively. The Meghalaya health department has assured us of all possible logistic support for the training. It will conduct and motivate the masses to join family planning programmes,” he said.
A scientific seminar-cum-awareness programme on NSV was held at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences in Shillong on November 16 under the banner of National Rural Health Mission, Meghalaya.
Ali, who attended the seminar as the resource person at the invitation of the Meghalaya government, said it was high time the hill state overcame its taboos and prejudices associated with the adoption of family planning methods.
“If the population growth rate in Meghalaya is not curbed, it will spell a disaster. There will be tremendous pressure on its land and other natural resources and its scenic beauty would be destroyed. The state government must facilitate speedy promotion of population control programmes,” he said.
Ali, a professor of surgery at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, also gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Iran model that Assam has adopted to make family planning successful among the Muslim populace in the state. He said this model had worked though the orthodox section of the community still considered family planning programmes as a western influence that were anti-Islamic.
“Assam will guide and provide all logistic support to Meghalaya to implement another model in the line of the Iran model to popularise family planning among the tribals who are reluctant to adopt such methods,” he added.
Rowell Lyngdoh, the deputy chief minister of Meghalaya in charge of health and family welfare, thanked Ali for his endeavour to popularise NSV in Meghalaya and urged doctors and health officials to promote it in the greater interest of the state.
Dr S.T. Sailo, the associate professor of urology at NEIGRIHMS, said men in Meghalaya were not keen on NSV and creating awareness was the need of the hour.