Home Institution

George Washington University

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

India: Public Health, Policy Advocacy, and Community


The effectiveness of population policies is widely disputed by the international development community and is under constant scrutiny. While these policies have the potential to positively affect reproductive and child health indicators, they often focus too heavily on macro-demographic family planning goals and fail to acknowledge socioeconomic determinants of fertility indicators, often making for ineffective policy. Furthermore, target-based approaches have the potential to negatively impact women’s family planning choices and the quality of care they receive. This study seeks to analyze how the Uttar Pradesh Population Policy affects the decision-making process and experiences of women who undergo sterilization procedures in rural Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh. 10 women between the ages of 26-38 who had undergone a sterilization procedure within the last 5 years, and 5 accredited social health activists (ASHAs) were interviewed in order to obtain perspectives on first-hand experiences and the sociocultural and policy-related factors that influenced them. Results showed that family members, community health workers, personal desires, and overarching policy goals all influenced the women’s decisions, and her experience was sometimes negatively impacted by lack of quality healthcare workers. Additionally, women were not influenced by monetary incentives. Thus, the research calls into question the use of compensation packages for family planning methods, and shows the need for population policies to focus on reproductive and child health rather than meeting family planning goals.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Health Policy | Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health | Public Health | Women's Health


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