`Phase out the camps'

Down to Earth - - COVER STORY -

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.

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