The world population Day was an event started by the UNDP in 1989 as a means to raise awareness about global population issues. While the theme this year was Vulnerable population in Emergencies including those of natural calamities and epidemics, We In India could not go beyond the fact that our population today stands at 1.27 billion and still growing. While rest of the world is looking at themes of natural calamities, we need to first and foremost are reminding ourselves of birth control.
Lets set the facts straight first. Our country’s population stood at 127,42,39,769 yesterday right on the path of slowly becoming the most populous country of the world. As per Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh or National Population Stabilization Fund (NPSF) shows that we account for 17.25 percent of the global population and this is growing at a rate of 1.6% per year. The population of some of our states are a much as some countries. UP for instance is as populous as Brazil (mind you- Brazil is the fifth most populous country in the world). Soon we will beat china, at least in this regard.
Indeed, these figures stand as a reminder for our failures at birth control, at awareness, failure of the role of public programs in reaching to public, failure of our culture to teach our generations, or even at a basic level, failure of our understanding of the basic implications that this large a population can mean for our country, society, system natural resources ( and the list goes on.)
This problem just does not stop here. There is a gender bias. 11% more male children are born every year as compared to females, as against a benchmark of 5%, shows UN data. The IMR is also higher in case of females. Moreover, when it comes to birth control measures, Tubectomy is more common than Vasectomy. Condoms are still either regarded as either pleasure reducing, or simply as a unnecessary. If this is not failure of our society, then what is.
This also does not stop here. With each passing government, new plans are implements, new schemes are brought forwards, new awareness programs are launched. But what about the results? Nothing……
While we may blame the government, the society, the culture, the universe for these failures, we know in our hearts, where the ultimate problem and the solution lies. Its just lies in the basic pre-thinking of the fact by a couple, “ Are we ready to have a child? Do we have the resources to support it, to give it a good future?”
It is absolutely imperative in these circumstances that we as Medical fraternity take up this cause. We know our role in tackling this situation. The role of patient education about birth control should not be just limited to gynaecologists. Every doctor, whether a general practitioner or even a heart specialist, who comes in contact with the patient and its family, knows about their personal situation along with their illness, should stress on educating the patients about not having more than two children. Role of contraceptives should be explained, as well as persuasion about vasectomy/ tubectomy should be done. Its our duty to remove the taboo related to contraceptives as its we who advice them. Moreover, we don’t need to depend on a law to take anti sex-determination measures. We need to look inside our heart, think of a smiling girl child and put our foot down in front of anyone who even hints at showing a gender bias. If we all even manage to educate even one patient and persuade them towards taking the right decisions, the next World Population day will be success for this country.