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RCH (Reproductive and Child Health Care)

RCH (Reproductive and Child Health Care)


  • India was among the first countries to start with programmes related to Reproductive health.
  • The Family Planning Programme was introduced in 1951.
  • In 1997, the programme are improvised and reframed as RCH (Reproductive and Child Health Care Programme).

Need of Reproductive and Child Health Care (RCH) programmes:

1. To create awareness among people about various reproduction-related aspects.
2. To lower the incidence of various STDs and promote hygienic sexual practices.
3. To maintain population stabilization and resolve the population growth in an uncontrolled manner.
4. To promote the use of various contraceptive devices, among people of reproductive age group, so as to decrease the chances of STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
5. To create a reproductively healthy society by eliminating myths associated with all the related aspects.
6. To resolve various infertility issues with the help of ARTs.

Topics covered-

  • Problems associated with reproductive health
  • Strategies for achieving a reproductive healthy society

Problems associated with reproductive health:

  • There are several problems associated with reproductive health which are as follows-
    a. Lack of awareness in the people about various aspects of reproductive health like the use of contraceptives, hygienic sexual practices, etc.
    b. The common occurrence of several Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
    c. Misuse of amniocentesis in prenatal sex determination increases in female foeticide.
    d. Infertility and related social stigma.
    e. Ignorance about Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs).
    f. Population explosion.

Strategies for achieving a reproductive healthy society:

  • The government of India has initiated programmes like RCH which aim to promote the health of mothers and children, reduce infant and maternal mortality rates in order to stabilize the population growth.
  • These programs cover a wide range of reproduction-related areas and address all the aspects required in the construction of a reproductively healthy society.
  • The strategies included under RCH are as follows-

a. Introduction of sex education in schools-
- Sex education is introduced at the level of schools, to decrease myths or misconceptions about sex-related issues.
- It also helps in providing proper information about reproductive organs, adolescence and related changes, safe and hygienic sexual practices, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), AIDS to adolescents helping them lead a reproductively healthy life.

b. Educating people of the fertile couples and people of the marriageable age group-

  • Providing education to the people about different birth control measures so that they would be aware of the techniques that would prevent unwanted pregnancies.
  • Providing education-related to STDs and their modes of spread so that they can practice hygienic sexual practices and prevent them from STDs.
  • Educating people about gender equality.
  • Ensuring prevention of female foeticide.
  • Creating awareness about the importance of breastfeeding, care of pregnant mothers, postnatal care of the mother and child.
  • Providing information about the importance of vaccines and ensuring immunisation.

c. Creating mass awareness through media-

  • Mass awareness among the people about reproduction-related aspects is being created through the use of different audio-visual aids like television, posters, etc. by different government and non-governmental agencies.

d. Distribution of free contraceptives-

  • Contraceptives like condoms and Mala-N are being freely distributed among people to encourage the use of contraceptives.

e. Strict implementation of laws-

  • Implementation of laws to prevent prenatal sex determination and illegal abortions.
  • To keep a legal check on female foeticide.
  • Massive child immunization, a program that merits mention in this connection.

f. Medical assistance-

  • Providing medical assistance for pregnancy, STDs, abortions, menstrual problems, contraception, etc. if required.

g. Social issues awareness-

  • Addressing social evils like sex abuse and sex-related crimes, overpopulation, etc. is also required as these are major issues that affect the reproductive health of a society.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What are the disorders of the reproductive system?
Disorders of a male reproductive system:

  • Testicular cancer
  • Infertility (low sperm count)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Foreskin problems like phimosis
  • Penile cancer
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Disorders of a female reproductive system:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Q2. What are the major problems associated with reproductive health?

  • The major problems associated with reproductive health are overpopulation, occurrence of STDs, lack of awareness among people about contraception measures etc.

Q3. What are ARTs?

  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) specialised medical techniques advised to overcome infertility issues.
  • ARTs includes several techniques like ZIFT, GIFT, IUT, ICSI, test-tube baby, AI etc.

Q4. What are STDs?

  • STDs are sexually transmitted diseases.
  • STDs are that infectious and communicable diseases that are transmitted from an infected person to a healthy but susceptible person by the means of unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sexual contact.
  • These are generally acquired diseases and usually affect the reproductive system but may spread to other body parts.
  • STDs caused by bacteria are- Gonorrhoea, syphilis.
  • STDs caused by viruses- AIDS, Hepatitis-B.
  • STDs caused by protozoans- Vaginal yeast infections, Trichomoniasis.

Q5. What are contraceptive devices?

  • Contraception or contraceptive devices are the birth control measures that are taken to prevent unwanted pregnancies and maintain population stabilisation.
  • Examples of contraceptives are IUDs, condoms, diaphragms, oral pills, etc.

Q6. Define infertility.

  • Infertility is a condition in which a couple is not able to conceive inspite of unprotected sexual cohabitation for 1 year.
  • Infertility is found in both females and males.
  • There are a number of causes of infertility which can be physical, congenital, disease, drugs, immunological or even physiological.
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