Articles

Population Growth in India

Male involvement in our region in household matters like parenting, household work, child health & reproductive health is negligible. They feel that they have fulfilled their duties if they have raised the economic condition and status of their family. What society needs is happier and healthier families and this is only possible if males agree to share their responsibility in family life.

Some of the major reproductive health problems are:

Illiteracy. Due to low literacy rate, a large percentage of the population has no idea about modern methods of family planning. They consider children as a gift of god due to their religious belief or they don’t know how to avoid pregnancies. They lack information on issues like Hygiene, nutrition, child care and health related issues leading to a numerous problems. The desire to have a male child forces them to have more kids.

Males do not want to take an active role in reproductive issues. They avoid the use of condoms and want to leave the entire burden of means of avoiding pregnancy on females. The poor cannot afford to buy condoms and illiterate do not know about its use.

In India, it has been a strong belief that males who go in for Vasectomy operations lose their drive and hence they force woman to undergo ligation operations so that their drive and vigour remains intact. A lack of awareness on this issue and forced sterilisations during Emergency in 1974-77 has put a full stop on this programme which could have saved India from this uncontrolled monster of population growth.

Lack of Health Centres & Doctors in Rural areas = There is a shortage of doctors who work in rural areas. Rural health centres face numerous problems like shortage of Doctors, nursing staff, medicines and basic infrastructure like Building, Bathrooms etc,. Staffs remain absent and most of them have abnormal working hours.

Population- medical facility ratio is skewed = in urban areas, the no. of dependants on each government hospital or health centre has grown in the last 2-3 decades. Patients have to sit and sleep on hospital floors as beds are not available. Availability of Hospitals, Doctors, nursing staff, diagnostic services and medicines has not increased in proportion to population.

Lack of programmes on Population problems = We have programmes on AIDS,T.B, Polio, Child immunisation etc., but no concrete or serious awareness programme for benefits of population control or how to avoid pregnancies. We have raised this issue to show that there is a need for greater government & NGO intervention on this issue.

Lack of Authority = We have a Health Departments and they are responsible for all health related issues. They conduct population control or awareness programmes only when they receive funds from the central government or on World Population day. There is no officer responsible in this area for reproductive health programmes or any government organisation which works for this issue with set targets.

The use of contraceptives has increased in the last decade due to increase in awareness on this issue. Distribution of free condoms at government health centre and by NGO’s who fight AIDS has helped us in tackling this problem to a large extent. Government figures on condom distribution paint a rosy picture but how much is actually used for avoiding pregnancy is a matter of discussion and requires in depth analysis.

Male involvement in Reproductive health issues is minimal. They avoid usage of condoms and all temporary pregnancy avoidance measures have to be undertaken by woman. In India, it has been a strong belief that males who go in for Vasectomy operations lose their drive and hence they force woman to undergo ligation operations so that their drive and vigour remains intact. The labour class believes that they cannot lift weights or do hard work if they undergo vasectomy operations. The middle and upper males do not consider vasectomy as a means of family planning because of the misconception that will lose their vigour and thereby force females to undergo ligation or adopt temporary family planning methods like pills, Copper-T, Mala-D etc. which are harmful for females.

Contraception behaviour:

Family Planning Method                                     %
Permanent                                                       10.2
Temporary                                                        27.0

The above figure proves that contraception coverage is too low and requires boosting through inputs of IEC, service facilities and convergence. Gender equality in contraception adoption should be looked into and awareness and facilitation programmes should be started.

Males are not properly educated about male role in happy family life and they also bear the burden of large families. They do not take part in parenting, house hold work and child health. Woman in India have to sacrifice their own nutritional intake in order to provide more for the family, often missing meals altogether. This during pregnancy when they should in fact be increasing their intake of calories, results in woman being anaemic. It is females who bear the burden of family life by making all the sacrifices. A good percentage of male population steps on the rights of woman due to bad habits like drugs, smoking, drinking and womanising.

The fact that men play a very important role and often decide on family size increases the need to focus on them. At present we are talking only to woman. We need to encourage woman to come to clinics with their husbands. Men need to know about contraceptives as much as women do. We do see a small degree of change in attitudes amongst men, they don’t want large families. A study was conducted on contraceptive prevalence some time ago among the well to do socio – economic class. Of the 50 couples surveyed, the majority of men said they relied on their wives’ opinion when it comes to choosing branded products but when it comes to contraceptive choice, the women were not consulted.

Woman employment is also an important factor in reproductive health decision making and if the lady of the house is an earning member she dictates family decisions. In the Nepali community, the woman owns most of the property and she takes all major decisions. The husband even depends upon his wife for money to buy his daily quota of booze. In the tea gardens a large percentage of woman are employed and earn income for the family. But there is big question mark on whether earning woman family members dictate choice of reproductive decision making or number of issues. This need to be surveyed and our campaigns should depend on the feedback we receive.

We would like to conclude by saying that there is need to increase awareness about male role in happy family life. Increased awareness about male responsibility towards greater gender equality will help us in fighting these social evils and make females aware of their rights. So we have to aware the people regarding the importance of family planning, specially males and has to issue strict laws, the awareness programs should conduct continuously, there is a great need to conduct long run program for population control. Educated, Youth, students, Non –Governmental Organizations, all political parties and their affiliated organizations have to take this population control as a serious problem. If we all together fight against increase of population and aware the people on safer methods of family planning, then we can curb the increase of population.

If we all take it silly, we have to suffer a lot, our coming generations will face enormous problems for safe land, water, air. So many problems will arise which causes the destruction of nature and normal living of human beings as well as all living organism.

So every body has to take population control as a social responsibility and fight against the population growth.