A 30 per cent jump in the use of permanent sterilisation methods in the last 10 years has brought about a downswing in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR),according to data revealed by the state health department.
The lowering of TFR from 2.9 in 2004 to 2.4 in 2009 are the first signs of stabilisation of population growth,say officials. TFR is an indication of the average number of children born to a woman in her reproductive years.
The state has made fast strides in accepting permanent sterilisation methods raising the total sterilisation by one lakh in two years,from 2.67 lakh in 2006-2007 to 3.10 lakh last year.
Dr M S Ranavat,Consultant,Family Planning,state Health Department said: The acceptance of male sterilisation was abysmal in Gujarat,mainly due to the fear of the surgery. With the introduction of the No-scalpel vasectomy technique,which is a done through a puncture,while doubling up the incentive money from Rs 500 to Rs 1,100,has brought about a trend reversal in the level of acceptance.
Unlike other states,Gujarat has always has had a highly lopsided ratio of vasectomy surgeries as compared to tubectomy operations.
After registering 20,000 surgeries in 2007-2008,the numbers dipped to 11,500 next year due to inadequate number of trained professionals handling the surgeries.
Dr Ranavat added: With a more streamlined approach and over 280 trained doctors,Gujarat is expecting to match the highest number of vasectomy surgeries. Even the number of tubectomy surgeries has increased in the last three years,raising the acceptance of permanent methods of sterilisation.
Dr Amarjeet Singh,state Principal Secretary,Family Welfare and Commissioner of Health,said: At the present fertility rate,every two couple will have five children,which means a net addition of one child. We will take another one to two years to reach the stabilisation rate of 2:1,but extending comprehensive services to all women and children so that they opt for these methods is something yet to be achieved.
Having put up a bad show in controlling TFR for a long time,the recent developments in the population control methods along with the efforts to achieve the set target 2:1 TFR by 2010 end,Gujarat is looking at achieving stabilisation targets for the first time in over 10 years.