District hospitals across the country soon to have family planning counselors for better utilization of its population control services, government officials said.
"There is a proposal to place counselors at district hospitals for comprehensive counseling related to family planning services. This would include birth control options, post-delivery counseling and reproductive healthcare services," said Sushma Dureja, deputy commissioner, family planning, at the ministry of health.
"States such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have been poor performers when it comes to family planning. But we are aiming at a country-wide reach for counselors," added Dureja.
The move is one of the steps adopted by the government to stabilize population growth, experts said.
While large population size in the reproductive age group has been one of the reasons for population increase, high fertility rate due to unmet contraception is another reason.
According to the Census 2011, India's population rose to 1.21 billion people over the last decade -- an increase by 181 million.
"For birth control, we already have a scheme in practice where ASHAs deliver contraceptives at doorsteps," Dureja said on the sidelines of a national consultation by Family Planning Association of India.
ASHAs or accredited social health activists in the rural healthcare system have been involved in the project of contraceptive distribution spanning across 17 states.
While the counselors will be available for a range of services such as birth control, spacing, post-partum planning and maternal health among others, experts said the government needs to counter other problems such as limited access and poor services also.
"Firstly, there is poor counseling and low-quality services combined with limited access. Now that there is thought on providing counseling, it is a must at the primary health center level," said Poonam Muttreja, executive director at the Population Foundation of India, here.