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Improved family planning would enable India to achieve SDGs: NITI Aayog Advisor

The experts in National Consultation recommended to strengthen Public Private Partnership (PPP) for family planning interventions through Social Franchising and Social Marketing of Contraceptives.

Devdiscourse News Desk | New Delhi | Updated: 01-06-2019 13:01 IST | Created: 01-06-2019 13:01 IST
Improved family planning would enable India to achieve SDGs: NITI Aayog Advisor
Image Credit: Flickr

Alok Kumar, Advisor to India's planning body – NITI Aayog; has emphasized the role of family planning interventions in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. He was delivering 'Key Note Address' in a National Consultation organized by Population Foundation of India (PFI) with Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT) in collaboration with John Snow India (JSI) on Friday that highlighted the potential for strengthening the government family planning programmes through Social Franchising and Social Marketing of Contraceptives.

"We need to improve the indicators of family planning, health and nutrition in Aspirational districts to match the national average and to be able to achieve the SDGs," said Alok Kumar. He further emphasized, "We need at least 90% coverage of the key interventions in addition to ensuring the quality of services to achieve health and nutrition goals". The workshop aimed at building consensus for private sector engagement in family planning (FP) through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) recommendations that can be utilized by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and NITI Aayog to develop and roll out a comprehensive PPP framework in the country.

Speaking at the workshop, Ms Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of the PFI, "India is a young country with nearly 232 million in this age group. This large demographic of young people present the country with an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate economic development and reduce poverty. As high as 24 million young Indian women between the ages of 15-24 do not want to get pregnant but are not using contraceptives for many reasons including lack of access to services. Private sector engagement in family planning is therefore critical to supplement and complement the government services. The landscape assessment commissioned by us, reveals key challenges and solutions for strengthening their engagement in family planning. She further says, "The study synthesizes learnings and highlights the need to develop and roll out a comprehensive public-private partnership framework for family planning services in the country". The workshop focused on the current status and good practices related to private sector engagement in family planning based on key findings of the studies conducted by PFI and HLFPPT.

Mr Sharad Agarwal, CEO, Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust said, "We believe that Social Franchise & Social Marketing have many successful models, learning's and above all opportunities which are untapped that can bring commercial feasibility and techniques to the family planning sphere to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Through this event, we envisage & propose the formation of a steering group which can have representation from all stakeholders and help us to take forward an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders highlighting the scope, trends, and opportunities for private sector participation in family planning in India."

The key recommendations of the workshop are as under:

  • Longer-term engagements with private partners - As India's family planning goals are long-term, the FP programmes need longer-term partnerships. Longer term contracts – at least for five years and preferably for 8 to 10 years – could be considered.
  • Independent monitors for oversight, support and management of the PPP arrangement- The government body may consider independent consultants or monitors to reduce the risk of both the private and public partners and give them a neutral, but well qualified and experienced, agency for oversight, support and management of the project, including verification of claims and processing the payment.
  • Consider flexibility in fixing reimbursement rates- The government may consider reviewing its "one service, one rate" system and adopt an assessment of the cost of services. This may be better resolved with a competitive bidding process.
  • Inclusion of newer categories into social marketing and expanding the scope for brand extensions - While SM Division considers expanding the choice of contraceptives for SMOs, it may also consider extensions, and not just for condoms, but also for other contraceptive products and no contraceptive, reproductive health products.

India was the first country in the world to adopt a structured approach to population stabilization and make it a public health priority. According to a study commissioned by PFI, entitled 'Cost of Inaction in Family Planning in India: An Analysis of Health and Economic Implications", prioritizing family planning programmes until 2031 would save as much as Rs. 27,000 crores in public health spending which can be redirected to other health priorities and enable citizens to save Rs. 77,600 crores in out-of-pocket expenditures (OOPE) on childbirth and hospitalisation. The projected demographic and health gains of the policy scenario include prevention of 2.9 million infant deaths, 1.2 million maternal deaths, 206 million unsafe abortions and 69 million additional births at the national level. It highlights the benefits of strengthening family planning strategies at the community, state and national level.

The inaugural session included participation by policymakers and government officials including Mr. Sudhansh Pant, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Mr. Alok Kumar, Adviser, NITI Aayog, as well as development partners, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Social Marketing Organisation (SMO) partners' and the private sector.



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