The US Agency for International Development (USAID) under its MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership mechanism announced a new family planning initiative for India on Friday.
Through the four-year project, it would contribute to the achievement of India’s national family planning (FP) goals.
It has been designed to support the FP and reproductive health (RH) needs of India’s marginalised youths in urban and rural areas of Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
There are 332 millions young people in the age group of 15–29 years, accounting for more than 27.5% of India’s population. According to the National Youth Policy 2014, they contribute about 34% of India’s gross national income. According to Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare advisor Dr SK Sikdar it is yet another programme to achieve the goals of family planning.
“Many of our efforts include a specific focus on promoting improved reproductive health and reducing gender-based violence. MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership India-Yash is designed to build upon existing evidence and best practices, as well as to catalyze new ideas and partnerships, using a targeted, contextualized approach," said USAID India Director Health Office Sangita Patel.
The programme also includes a greater focus on building the capacity, sustainability, and resilience of local partner institutions, recognising that building technical and organisational capacity of local organisations is necessary to deliver sustainable, evidence-based and quality reproductive healthcare and voluntary family planning.
Patel reiterated USAID’s strong ties and partnership with the Government of India and their joint priority to focus on the health and welfare of India’s young people.
The project is led by Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins University affiliate and will promote adaptation of evidence-based, high-impact interventions and best practices proven in previous USAID investments and will demonstrate innovative models to accelerate improvement in young people’s FP and RH outcomes.
When asked JHPIEGO country ditector Dr Somesh Kumar said that the project recognises the importance of strong, multi-sector collaboration to respond to unmet family planning and reproductive health and rights needs of young people, particularly vulnerable youth populations.
He added that it will shift the power dynamics from health market players to clients (young people) and support an enabling environment for adolescent and youth friendly health services.
The initiative would enable them to make positive FP and RH choices and also improve the accessibility and affordability of quality FP and RH care and products, he informed.
Ultimately, the project would set an enhanced youth ecosystem in which young people can make informed decisions about their reproductive health, he added.