According to Health Ministry data, the use of contraceptives in India has declined by almost 35 per cent over the last eight years. The decline in contraceptive use is despite a 14 per cent rise in national literacy. Condom use declined 52 per cent over the last eight years, and vasectomies fell 73 per cent. Oral birth control pill use fell 30 per cent, according to data analysed by IndiaSpend.
This means that there is more reluctance among men to use birth control than there is with women.
The use of birth control is not linked to higher literacy rates. The use of condoms and oral pills rose in Bihar, while in Kerala where most men are literate, condom use dropped a whopping 42 per cent. Karnataka’s literacy rate is higher than the national average. However, contraceptive use has declined in the state.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India told IndiaSpend that one of the reasons is that ‘people think women should go through everything’.
What’s concerning is that while contraceptive use fell over the last 8 years, emergency contraceptive pills rose by a 100 per cent. However, emergency contraceptive pills cannot be used as a substitute for regular contraceptive pills. These pills should be taken only as a last resort. If taken too frequently, they can adversely affect fertility, the menstrual cycle and hormonal balance.
Consumption of emergency pills rose 1,305 per cent in Bihar, 724 per cent in Uttarakhand and 383 per cent in Jharkhand.The number of abortions that are carried out daily has doubled over the last eight years, many of which are unsafe ones.
More programmes are needed to educate men and women that contraceptive use is the responsibility of both sexes.