Ipas Development Foundation trains more than 800 doctors from primary and community health centres every year and certifies them to provide abortion services
New Delhi: Meetings, writing of reports and review of training sessions come to a halt at the Delhi office of Ipas Development Foundation at 12.30pm. It’s lunch time and everyone gathers in the conference room, which according to the CEO of the organization, is used less for meetings and more for shared meals and celebrations of birthdays and other special occasions.
“It’s one big family we have here. Every birthday and every festival is celebrated," says Vinoj Manning, executive director at Ipas Development Foundation, a Delhi-based non-government organization that works towards the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.
Founded in India in 2002, Ipas works in 12 demographically poor states across the country including Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya and Assam. The foundation trains more than 800 doctors from primary and community health centres every year and certifies them to provide abortion services (abortion law requires doctors to be certified before they can perform such services).
All 800 doctors undergo clinical training of 12 days, where they are counselled and trained with models as well as live cases. “The training is done in the batches of two-three people and the whole thing is done by an ISO certification. We are probably the only NGO for training which is certified by ISO," Manning added. This go-to-agency for abortion care operates 121 training centres and treats more than 250,000 women every year.
The idea is to enable women to manage unwanted pregnancies. “Around 11 million abortions happen in the country every year and only 30% are performed by a trained professional. That’s the need and it is huge. Abortion has been legal in India for about 50 years but despite that, there is a lot of stigma; there are no proper services," said Manning.
Ipas also focuses on contraception in a bid to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The foundation, which employs around 165 people across the country, 38% of whom are women, also works closely with the central government to create mass media campaigns to spread awareness about abortion among young women. “We also do communication programmes at rural level. We train young women and girls, who go on and train their communities in sexual and reproductive health," he said.
For the year 2016-17, the foundation earned Rs33 crore in revenue and plans to double the number by 2020.
Ipas wants to expand its focus on contraception. “Contraception is where the growth is. It is difficult to talk about contraception to your family, which makes abortion access difficult. That is what makes this area so dicey and our work challenging and interesting," Manning added.
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