Mobilizing Elected Local Government Leaders For Reproductive Health

Authors : Aradhana Johri, J. S. Deepak, Marta Levitt-Dayal, J.S.Srilata

Reproductive health and family planning programmes in India emphasize on behavioural change for which social mobilisation by community leaders is essential. Uttar Pradesh in North India is the most populous state in the country with a very high fertility rate and huge population of about 170 million people. However, the support of community leaders in reproductive health programmes in Uttar Pradesh has been lacking. There is a need to provide an effective sensitisation programme for panchayat members and Panchayat Development Officers. The Panchayats with requisite support and training can contribute greatly in implementation of decentralised family welfare programmes.

Identifying the potential of Panchayat institutions, a large programme for training of Pradhans has been supported by SIFPSA in six districts of U.P. having a population of 15 million. These districts have 6657 pradhans and almost one third of them (2219) are females. The training module covers orienting Pradhans to basic features of the RCH programme and expanding their role in its implementation. A strong emphasis is on community mobilization involving thousands of influential elected village heads in support of family planning and reproductive health. This helps create a conducive environment which enables women to make and act on family planning and reproductive health decisions. As a result of this training, nearly 4110 pradhans (two thirds of the total) have been oriented on RCH and family planning related issues. Of the total pradhans trained, 953 (22%) are women.

Presented / Published

Paper presented at Global Health Council, 28th Annual Conference, May 29 - June 1, 2001 Washington DC, USA

Key Words:Elected Local Leaders, RCH Programme in U.P