The first regional consultation to formulate an effective and forward looking Population Policy for Uttar Pradesh was held in Allahabad on August 26. 2014. Senior doctors, health and family welfare department staff, noted academicians, development sector and civil society representatives participated. The consultation focused on 18 districts of the Allahabad region and was the first of four regional reviews that will be held. Three other will cover Jhansi, Gorakhpur and Moradabad regions.
The participants reviewed the present population policy, capturing the experiences of implementing it and deliberated on ways to address the gaps. Among the key recommendations that emerged was the need to orient parents on the harmful consequences of early marriage, focus on spacing methods and strengthen the counseling skills of the health staff.
Mr Badal Chattarjee (IAS) Commissioner, Allahabad, was the chief guest.
The consultation was facilitated by Mr B K Jain, General Manager, R&E, State Innovation in Family Planning Services Project Agency (SIFPSA) and Dr Sanjay Pandey, Programme Director, Population Foundation of India. Dr Meenu Sagar, Director, Family Welfare discussed the National Population Policy and the current Uttar Pradesh Population Policy outlining the need for amendments, and the desirability of linking family welfare with child health, and the availability of facilities required to deliver services.
The need for review
The current population of Uttar Pradesh (UP) is 199.9 million, which is more than the population of Brazil, the fifth most populous country in the world. The state currently contributes to more than 16 percent of the total population of India.
The present UP Population Policy was formulated in 2000 and runs till 2016. The need to review it had been felt as it was adopted when the state included the region now part of Uttarakhand, and a mid-term review showed that many of the set targets on maternal and child health, delaying age of marriage and meeting the unmet need for adoption of contraceptive methods could not be achieved. However, in the sphere of antenatal care coverage and institutional deliveries the state had performed better than the targets that had been set.
The government has set up core and review committees comprising senior officers from the department of health and family welfare, the National Health Mission, State Innovation in Family Planning Services Project Agency (SIPSA) and Population Foundation of India to take the process forward. A district-wise analysis of the current status of the indicators in the district has been done.
The deliberations of the four regional consultations would feed into a state-level workshop. The whole process involves various stakeholders and would be truly participatory, with those who work in the field having a say in what should go into it.