‘Pandemic saw sale of condoms & pills shoot up, while sterilisations declined’

In terms of sheer numbers, these are 33.70 crore units of condoms sold in 2021-22 compared to 31.45 crore in 2020-21.

Published: 29th January 2023 07:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2023 11:08 AM   |  A+A-

contraception, Contraceptive

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: Male and female sterilisations dropped sharply, but the sale of condoms and contraceptive pills went up during Covid restrictions and lockdown, according to the latest Union Health Ministry data.

Sterilisations fell by 25 per cent in 2021-22 compared to the year before that, while condom distribution rose by seven percent, and the Chhaya (contraceptive) pills usage doubled, according to the report of the Health Management Information System (HMIS).

“Despite the pandemic, condom distribution witnessed an increase of 7.2 per  cent as compared to 2020-21,” said the report, which is a comprehensive source for facility-level health data nationwide.

Uttar Pradesh, followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, was the leading state in the distribution of condoms, followed by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka and Jharkhand.

In terms of sheer numbers, these are 33.70 crore units of condoms sold in 2021-22 compared to 31.45 crore in 2020-21. Despite the hike, the numbers still fell short of the highest mark of 34.44 crore touched in 2018-19 before the lockdown.

Centchroman, popularly known as Chhaya pills, emerged as a contraceptive method of choice during the Covid-19 pandemic in almost all states.Also, the Combined Oral Contraceptive (COC) Pills saw an increase of 8.7 percent as compared to 2020-21.

A whopping 76.5 lakh Chhaya  contraception pills were distributed in 2021-22, compared to 57.1 lakh in 2020-21. The jump is significant as only 14.1 lakh pills were distributed in 2018-19 – prior to the pandemic.Most of the demand for these pills came from Uttar Pradesh, followed by West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

However, in COC pills distribution, West Bengal led the country, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.In contrast, sterilisations declined during pandemic, falling from 33.52 lakh in 2019-20 to 26.97 lakh in 2021-22.In 2021-22 male sterilisation (33,635) contributed to one percent of the total sterilisation services provided in India.Although it has improved by 27 per cent from 2020-21 (26,424), it declined by 38 percent compared to 2019-20 (54,239).

In 2021-22, Maharashtra (7,414) recorded the highest number of male sterilisations, followed by Chhattisgarh (4,469), Uttar Pradesh (2,903), and Madhya Pradesh (2,897).Female sterilisation grew from 26.71 lakhs in 2020-21 to 29.75 lakh in 2021-22. However, it is yet to reach its pre-pandemic level of 32.98 lakh procedures in 2019-20.

“Pandemic years 2020-21 and 2021-22 were challenging years for all services, including family planning,” the report said.

“Over the years, the family planning programme has been repositioned to not only achieve population sterilisation goals but also reduce maternal, infant and child morbidities and mortalities,” it said.

Despite the huge challenges encountered on account of the pandemic, the programme was able to stand its ground and barring a few expected setbacks, especially in the reduction of sterilisations performed -since the operation theatres (OTs) were closed in the initial peak period - was able to either improve or maintain its performance over the last two years, it said.

“Expectedly, due to the restrictions imposed and OTs being instructed to close for routine surgeries, sterilisation services declined by 20%, but in 2021-22, it has started improving and reported a growth of 11% compared to 2020-21,” the HMIS 2020-21 and 2021-22 – An Analytic Report said.


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