Women in rural Bihar are very conservative and it is difficult to convince them to take part in a sterilisation programme, said Subodh Jaiswal, deputy director (family planning), health department, explaining the less than satisfactory performance of a government scheme to popularise population control.
Two months back, the department launched a mobile van to promote sterilisation for women in Patna district. But only 200 women have been sterilised through this project.
In 2001, the population of the state was 8.3 crore; in 2011, it rose to 10.38 crore. According to experts, Bihar needs rigorous family planning measures to check the unbridled growth of the population.
"At present, the fertility rate in Bihar is 3.7. We want to reduce it to 2.1,"said Jaiswal. Fertility rate is the number of children per the number of women.
He added: "But women in rural parts of the state are very conservative. To convince them of our sterilisation programme was very challenging."
The Union government scheme ' Adarsh Dampati Yojana ' that aims to motivate female sterilisation has not received a good response either. According to the officials of the state health department, there has been a sharp decline in the number of people who availed of the scheme in the last fiscal.
"In 2010-2011, 10,367 women had availed of the benefits of the Adarsh Dampati Yojana; in 2011-2012, only 7,700 women took advantage of the service," said Jaiswal.
The mobile sterilisation van was launched on a public-private partnership mode. "The van is equipped with intrauterine contraceptive device. It is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy," said Jaiswal.
He added: "The van has two nurses who administer the process. They try to convince women who have at least one child to opt for the sterilisation."
The officer said the government is planning to launch the service in 10 other districts though the exact details have not been decided yet.