The recently released National Health Mission’s common review mission report showed that women account for 93 percent of sterlisations in the country, showing that the burden of contraception and birth control still largely lies on the women in society. And while the equation may be lopsided, it shows that women are taking more autonomy in making decisions about their family planning. And the village of Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh is a key example.
TFR, or total fertility rate, is calculated by counting the number of children a woman had in the reproductive age of 15-49. A TFR of three is considered to be high, and 2.1 is ideal. UP’s TFR is 2.7 while India’s overall TFR is 2.2.
The district of Bahraich, which shows a high fertility rate of four, now has 28-year-old Pushpa Devi as its champion for population control. Pushpa Devi, who resides in Mihinpurwa, was happy mother of two children until, she faced an unwanted pregnancy that she couldn’t terminate due to medical reasons. Since then, she has been a champion of condoms as a contraceptive method to keep unwanted pregnancies at bay.
Being the one to persuade her husband to use condoms, given that they are non-invasive contraceptives, she has now become the idol for other women in the district, and they are turning to their husbands with the call of using condoms during sexual intercourse, too.
This has led an increase in the demand of condoms in the district health office, according to their data. Peer motivation, and awareness on family planning, were the key aspects which made women self-conscious about using contraceptive methods
Along with Pushpa Devi, 32-year-old Seema, sought medical help after suffering weakness in her fourth pregnancy. When advised to avoid pregnancies as she was medically unfit, she also began convicing her husband to use a condom during intercourse.
Seema has now become a role model to women in the family and in the neighbourhood. She says,
Health Department Data shows that of the total demand for condoms in Bahraich, 12.3% were consumed in Pushpa Devi’s Mihinpurwa, while the total percentage of condoms distributed in the district was 12.8% of the total use in the district.
This trend is indeed positive, Medical Officer incharge, Mihinpurwa Community Health Centre, Dr. RK Verma said,