`Phase out the camps'
ALOK BANERJEE, a member of the technical committee that is redrafting the 2006 guidelines on family planning, spoke to DownToEarth about the impact of the deaths. Excerpts What challenges does India face in family planning? There is non-adherence to national standards and guidelines. The camp sites are not cleaned properly, patients are not screened by surgeons and many other violations are rampant. Quality of drugs, their procurement, storage and supply are also compromised. Would the Bilaspur deaths impact the new family planning guidelines? Indeed. Earlier, the new re- vised guidelines were to be released on November 18-19. Now, they would be released in 2015. According to the proposed guidelines, doctors are to be trained for sterilisation at MBBS level. More emphasis is to be put on spacing methods. Having a counsellor at district hospitals and community health centres would be made mandatory. Did your Bilaspur visit force a rethink on any suggestions you were planning to recommend in the committee? I will see to it that strong emphasis is placed on phasing out the camps. Also, I will ensure more focus on minilaptubectomy. What is the way forward? If we can successfully implement the position of counsellor in public health facilities and ensure proper follow-up care, then long acting hormonal methods like injectables, implants and vaginal rings can be introduced. In any case, spacing methods have to be widely promoted.