Reaching the unreached: older women and the RCH programme in India, the challenges ahead

Syamala T. Sankaranarayanan, Institute for Social and Economic Change

This paper discusses the challenges ahead for the India’s Reproductive and Child Health programme in providing services to women in the late reproductive period and to women who are in the menopausal stage- an area that was totally neglected by the programme. In the context of decrease in fertility, mortality and increase in life expectancy especially for women and thereby increase in the share of old population, this paper addresses the issue of menopause and pre-mature menopause, with the view to link it with the special health needs of these women. It also discusses the special reproductive health services needed at older ages for tackling the problems of STDs and RTIs, infertility, abortion, and menopause related problems. As many Indian women in their forties have already attained menopause and many others continue to bear children, the major challenge identified here is in providing both maternity and menopausal services simultaneously

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Presented in Poster Session 1