Karnataka believes the HIV counsellors are good enough for counselling on intra-uterine contraceptive devices (IUCD). It has refused to appoint exclusive counsellors for post-partum counselling on benefits of IUCDs.’
The Centre is in consultations with state governments to change their strategy towards family planning. Now, the Centre is emphasing on spacing between children through contraception methods unlike earlier times when sterilisation was considered as one of the means of family family planning.
“Spacing is the new cornerstone in the family planning policy,” said Dr S K Sikdar, deputy commissioner — family planning division of Union health ministry. Sikdar was in Bangalore to review the family planning programme in the Southern states.
While the southern states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have been able to march ahead towards meeting this goal, Karnataka is a tag behind them. While in other southern states, the government provides counsellors specialised in counselling women post-partum, in Karnataka, the government believes that the HIV counsellors are good enough for the job and have refused to appoint exclusive counsellors for post-partum counselling on the benefits of intra-uterine contraceptive devices (IUCD). This attitude is a setback as HIV counsellors counsel the sick who are infected by the HIV while women who need counselling on family planning cannot be considered sick, said Dr Sikdar. Tamil Nadu has 274 counsellors while Andhra Pradesh has appointed 180 such counsellors.
Meanwhile, the state continues to lag in a few aspects of healthcare. Some eight districts of the 30 in the state are responsible for 80 per cent of the population growth and “these are also the most backward districts in the state and are all in north Karnataka,” said a state government offical. They are also the poorest districts in the state.
Under the Centre’s National Rural Health Mission, the state has got around Rs 1,000 crore, which is an increase of about Rs 150 crore over last year. The Centre hopes to fine-tune the programme and increase productivity with a part of the funds from NRHM being used in implementing the new strategy on family planning.
Earlier, Arvind Limbavali, minister of health, Karnataka, said here that Karnataka was the first state in the country to open government-sponsored family planning clinics in Bangalore and Mysore as early as in the 1930s under the then Maharaja of Mysore. “The state had achieved the goal of a total fertility rate to 2 against the National average goal of 2.1 by 2010,” he added.