A study was recently conducted on the central government’s flagship family planning scheme ‘Mission Parivar Vikas (MPV).’ This report was based on research conducted by Agarwal et al. in 2023. The study uses data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) rounds 4 and 5 and aims to determine the impact of MPV on fertility rates in the country.
India's Mission Parivar Vikas (MPV), launched in November 2016, is making significant strides in reducing fertility rates and empowering families throughout the country. This large-scale family planning program targets 146 districts with high fertility rates, aiming to improve access to contraceptives, educate communities about family planning, and break down social barriers associated with reproductive health.
High Fertility Rates: A Public Health Concern
High fertility rates can have a detrimental impact on both individual and societal well-being. Mothers residing in areas with high fertility are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth, jeopardizing their health and well-being.
Additionally, infants born to mothers with closely spaced pregnancies are at an increased risk for low birth weight and other health problems, further burdening healthcare systems.
Furthermore, high fertility rates can contribute to lower GDP per capita. This occurs as resources are strained to support a growing population, limiting investments in critical areas like education and infrastructure, and ultimately hindering economic growth and development. Therefore, addressing high fertility rates is crucial for improving individual health outcomes, ensuring the well-being of children, and fostering sustainable economic growth.
A Multi-Pronged Approach
Mission Parivar Vikas (MPV) tackles the issue of high fertility rates through a three-pronged approach. Firstly, it focuses on increased access to contraceptives by ensuring a readily available supply of various methods like injectables, OCPs, IUDs, and condoms through public health centres. This readily available access removes barriers and empowers families to choose the family planning method that suits their needs best.
Secondly, MPV combats misinformation and empowers families through information dissemination. Quarterly campaigns, mobile vans, and local health centres serve as platforms to dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding contraception. This awareness campaign equips families with the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions about their reproductive health and plan their families accordingly.
Finally, MPV addresses financial barriers to family planning by offering financial incentives. By offering rewards to beneficiaries who adopt contraceptives or undergo sterilization, the program encourages participation and makes family planning a more accessible option for all. These incentives, coupled with readily available contraceptives and information, form a comprehensive strategy to empower families and address the challenges of high fertility rates.
Positive Impact on Fertility Rates and Family Planning Practices
Research conducted by Agarwal et al. (2023) found that MPV has had a positive impact on fertility rates and family planning practices in India. The study, which used data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) rounds 4 and 5, revealed the following key findings:
Reduced number of births: The number of births in MPV districts declined by 5% compared to non-MPV districts.
Lower fertility preferences: Women in MPV districts reported lower desired family sizes and were less likely to want additional children.
Increased contraceptive use: MPV led to an 8.9 percentage point increase in contraceptive use among women.
Greater exposure to family planning information: Women in MPV districts were more likely to be exposed to family planning information through various channels.
Decomposing Effects on Contraceptives
The study also found that MPV had a positive impact on the use of various contraceptives, including, Female sterilization, Injectables, OCPs and Condoms.
Interestingly, the study also found an increase in the use of the rhythm method, which suggests an indirect effect of the program on awareness and demand for family planning. While it may be too early to measure the program's long-term impact on the total fertility rate, the initial results of MPV are encouraging.
The program's multi-pronged approach, combining increased access to contraceptives, information dissemination, and financial incentives, appears to be effective in achieving its goals. MPV is a valuable tool for reducing fertility rates, improving reproductive health outcomes, and empowering families to make informed choices about their future.