Family planning scheme runs dry in 10 Odisha districts
By Siba Mohanty - BHUBANESWAR
Published: 29th Jul 2012 11:38:06 AM
Bizarre as it may sound, 10 districts of Odisha are having to make do without any family planning activities, thanks to non-availability of oral contraceptives and condoms under the home delivery scheme. A worried State Government has sent an SOS to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare seeking immediate resumption of supply.
For the last three months, the scarcity has been so acute that none of the 10 of 18 districts where the scheme had been piloted has any stock at the health centres.
Alarmed by the situation, Commissioner-cum-Secretary to Health Department PK Mohapatra has shot off a letter to Secretary in the Union ministry PK Pradhan saying that the state is not in a position to provide required quantity of contraceptives to the districts which is why problems are being faced in promoting spacing methods among the targeted beneficiaries.
Interestingly, the problem has arisen only after introduction of the home delivery scheme. Earlier, the Government supplied oral contraceptives and condoms for free at the health centres. Last year, the Union Ministry launched a new scheme called Home Delivery of Contraceptives by ASHA at the doorstep of beneficiaries.
Under the scheme, the ASHA workers would deliver the contraceptives at home and beneficiaries paid Rs 1 each for three condoms and one pill. However, once the home delivery scheme began in November last year, the free scheme was withdrawn from the districts which is why the problem of alternatives cropped up.
“Since the disruption in supply, the beneficiaries in rural areas have no alternative except buying it from the market,” said official sources in the Health and Family Welfare Department. The free scheme is still in effect at block-level and district healthcare centres.
In his letter, Mohapatra said that, under the home delivery scheme, the Government of India had supplied just one consignment to the respective districts directly. For the last few months, the supply had been exhausted in as many as 10 districts.
With Odisha gearing up to observe the World Population Fortnight 2012, the state Health Department urged the Centre to take steps to supply the necessary quantity of contraceptives as per the annual requirements.