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Nilesh Patil

Nilesh Patil
Position: Technical Programme Manager
Organization: Family Planning Association of India
Nilesh is a young professional who combines the wisdom of grassroot realities with sound academic knowledge of public health approaches to deal with the complex issues of access to healthcare and realization of SRHR for the poor and vulnerable groups – Dr Kalpana Apte, Senior Assistant Secretary General (Programme Implementation) at Family Planning Association of India
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Over the last four years, I am working to increasing the access to FP and SRH services to the underserved communities of Jharkhand, UP, MP, Rajasthan and few southern states of India. At FPA India, I am leading a project which extends the basket of contraceptives including LARCs and terminal methods to the vulnerable population through right based approach. I am involved in creating a cadre of 1000 plus Community Based Provider (CBP) – grassroots level health worker, empowered to realizes and work for SRH rights of community by providing basic FP methods, counseling and vital referrals. I have prepared the module for CBP training and also involved in training of doctors, paramedic and counselors in SRHR, GBV and Quality of Care.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

Being Indian, I am passionate about helping to strengthen socio-economic development and empowerment of Indian community. This is not possible without uplifting the socio-cultural status and empowering Indian women and girls. Investment in family planning reduces burden of the reproductive morbidity and mortality over the women and girls, allows them to get educated, secure earnings and contribute to nation building.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

Mobilizing community support and stigma attached to use of family planning methods in rural part of India were couple of stern challenges of many while implementing the FP proramme. People were often adamant on their orthodox views and gender norms regarding practice of FP. We entered the community providing general health services. Discussed “family welfare” issues with group of men and women separately and subsequently discussed FP. Multiple small meeting with stakeholders helped the cause.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

Access to contraceptive choices and ability to act upon those choices are challenges for FP in India. FP scenario in India is driven by “population momentum” 50% of India’s population is in reproductive age group, more young couples are starting families. Early and child marriages are worsening the situation. Averting child marriages, delaying child bearing through rights based FP programmes and implementation of present laws and policies safeguarding women and girls is need of the hour.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I would like India to accomplish all its commitment to FP 2020. Comprehensive Sexuality Education to be made available to young people in school and colleges. Access to quality and affordable family planning services at door steps. Involving Public private partnerships to reach the last mile. Increased inter-ministerial coordination for effective implementation of various women welfare schemes, laws, policies and programmes.

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