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Rural birth control a tough pill

Only 31 per cent women in Lohardaga district know about intra-uterine devices (IUD) and 43 per cent about condoms.

These surprising, not to say alarming, findings were the result of a three-month survey between April and June this year done by Family Health International 360 and CARE, with the active involvement and support from Jharkhand government.

These findings were discussed at a meet on “assessment of the quality of integration of family planning services into immunisation programme in India” on Wednesday at a Ranchi hotel. Jointly hosted by Care, Family Health International 360 and state health department, it saw state officials, Ranchi civil surgeon, representatives of Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India and Indian Medical Association, among others.

The survey, based on interviews with 135 young mothers, discovered ignorance, resistance and prevalent myths led to the failure of family planning in the hinterland.

In the lack of family support, community service providers such as auxiliary nurses-cum-midwives (ANMs) and grassroots women health workers or sahiyas are unable to convince women to go in for family planning.

According to rural women, the top five sources of family planning know-how were friends (51 per cent), relatives (47 per cent), ANM and sahiyas (45 per cent) and anganwadi workers (38 per cent).

Though 83 per cent women were aware of female sterilisation and 78 about oral pills, knowledge was half-baked.

Those who knew about the former mistakenly felt it was the only birth control option, while many women didn’t know how to consume oral pills.

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