Sex, pregnancy, abortion and contraception are taboo subjects in India, and there is still an on-going debate about whether sex education should be taught in schools. But in a country with more than 1 billion people and 24 million babies born each year, the national government is calling for population stabilization. And someone is finally answering the phone.
On June 10, 2008, the Jansankhya Stiharata Kosh (JSK), or National Population Stabilization Fund, officially launched India’s first reproductive health call center. Since the phone lines were opened, the 17 trained operators have received more than 25,000 calls. Most of the callers are women who nervously ask about contraceptive methods. There are reportedly 188 million couples of reproductive age in India and only 53 percent use contraceptives.
The center’s operators, who have college degrees in life sciences, answer questions about sexual health concerns, breast-related problems, sexually transmitted infections, contraception, pregnancy, infertility, abortions, menopause and puberty, and explain the functioning of the reproductive systems of males and females.
“This call center fills a critical information gap that exists in Indian society about these issues,” said Shailaja Chandra, Executive Director of the National Population Stabilization Fund.” Currently, the call center targets the people living in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, but Chandra hopes to expand the center’s reach to a larger population.
The center can be reached Monday through Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm, at 011-66665555.
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