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- Saturday, December 29, 2012 - From Print Edition




Speakers at a meeting here on Friday stressed the need for family planning and birth spacing, voicing concern over the maternal mortality rate in the country.


Dr Haris Ahmed from Pathfinder International presented alarming numbers of the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Pakistan.


Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2006-07 puts Pakistan’s total MMR at 227 with Balochistan to have the highest — 785, followed by Sindh at 314 and KPK at 275.


Ahmed stressed the importance of family planning and birth spacing.


Marie Stopes Society (MSS) held the meeting at a local hotel, with health reporters from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which focused on raising the profile of reproductive health reporting and promoting healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies to decrease maternal mortality at district level.


Journalists from print and electronic media from more than 10 districts of the province, including Swat and Kohat, were present at the event.


The meeting was told that 14 million couples wanted to plan their families, yet one in every four pregnancies was unintended.


“Couples continue to suffer due to lack of awareness of modern family planning methods. Six percent of mothers of all ages die due to unsafe abortions. Keeping these facts in mind, the event focused on having a discussion on what should be done to address and eventually eradicate these maladies,” said a press release issued on Friday.


Rehan Khan from Rutgers WPF shed light on facts regarding early marriages in Pakistan. He informed guests that young mothers (15 or 16 years of age) were twice as likely to die during childbirth, while also stating the fact that 30 percent of all Pakistani marriages were child marriages.


Adil Naeem from MSS stated that the media had the power to bring about a change. Thus, he urged the media to use its powers to help ensure a better future for Pakistan.


An overwhelming response to efforts to highlight the issue by all participants was witnessed. Some shared their own personal experiences in regard to this problem.


Reporters felt a huge reason for this tragedy was lack of awareness and lack of facilities.


Media Strategy Consultant Wajih Akhter concluded the session by requesting for individual recommendations from all the reporters present.


These recommendations were followed by a commitment to contribute to the cause at an individual capacity.