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Human Development

Significance of sexual and Reproductive Health-Status of reproductive services in India

Significance of sexual and Reproductive Health-Status of reproductive services in India

Tag:GS-2|| Governance & Social Justice|| Human Development|| Health

What is the issue?

  • Government should emphasize the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights(SRHR) for a small, healthy and stable family.

Status of reproductive services in India

  • NEHS-4: The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 4 indicates that the use of modern contraceptive methods (mCPR) continues to be around 48 percent since 2006.
  • Sterilization: Sterilization has led to more than 70% of contraceptive use in states that have shown a decline in mCPR.
  • Gender inequality
    • Further, according to NFHS 4, female sterilization in India has stayed at around 37% since 2006, amid health complications and deaths, highlighting gender inequalities in contraceptive usage.
    • According to NHFS, 36 percent of females and only 0.3 percent of males underwent sterilization, which shows the level of difference.
  • Lack of Accessibility and awareness 
    • This may be due to lack of availability or knowledge of other contraceptive methods and require immediate corrective action.

Issues in data collection on reproductive health

  • Different levels
    • India has a large database of health and demographic data, but this repository can also be confusing.
    • For example, information on contraceptive use from large-scale surveys show different levels in selected geographies, making preparation difficult.
    • Such inaccuracies may be due to errors in the collection of data.
  • Errors in data collection
    • Errors in data collection have an impact on the quality of the information which contradicts the results of the study.
  • Policy Planning
    • The reliability of these results is critical for policymaking to tackle reproductive health and maternal and child health issues.
    • Researchers have found out that information reliability is compromised by factors such as interviewer bias, which contributes to inaccurate data entry.
  • Incorrect Reporting
    • This often happens when collecting data on female sterilization, which is caused by over-reporting of women as non-users and reporting current non-users as cases of hysterectomy.
    • The rate of bias was found to be higher in the states that reported a decline in mCPR, suggesting that the results were affected by data collection errors.
    • There is also a challenge in distinguishing between procedures such as sterilization and hysterectomy for some interviewers, which contributes to inaccurate coverage.
    • Research shows that a state-level decline in the use of mCPR and a decline in the acceptance of sterilization may lead to a reduction in the use of mCPR.

 Measures are needed in this regard

  • Address Data Quality issues: There is a need to resolve data quality concerns and to implement technological innovations in the collection, training and capacity building of survey officials.
  • Role of NDQF:
    • The position of the National Data Quality Forum (NDQF) is critical when it comes to addressing differences in data collection and analysis and using data for advocacy and policymaking.
    • Forums such as NDQF need to be supported to reduce data collection errors and to put together the brightest minds to build effective data quality frameworks.
  • Inclusive data collection: In addition, the challenge should be to make data collection inclusive of individuals, selection, organization, knowledge, and decision-making. It is also important to tackle reproductive rights for women.
  • Uptake sterilization of men: With male sterilization on a rapid decline, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare published the National Health Policy 2017, which aims to increase male sterilization to 30%.
  • Address Gender inequality: The emphasis should, therefore, be on enhancing information on the identification of contraceptive usage problems and resolving gender inequalities in SRHR in India.

Additional Information

 National Data Quality Forum

  • The National Institute for Medical Statistics (ICMR-NIMS) of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), in collaboration with the Population Council, launched the National Data Quality Forum (NDQF).

Aim of NDQF

  • The purpose of the NDQF is to develop protocols and good practices for data collection, processing, use, dissemination and distribution that can be applied to and replicated through health and demographic data.
  • NDQF aims at brainstorming, piloting and implementing advanced artificial intelligence (AI) modeling methods, machine learning, and big data analytics, along with the use of technology-based solutions to improve data quality.

Mains model question

  • Discuss how gender inequality came to be recognized as inequality in the Indian context, and all kinds of responses that this recognition produced?