Saturday September 25, 2021

Towards structural reforms for delivery of family planning services

July 09, 2018

Islamabad : All provinces need to introduce structural reforms so that the entire health setup is geared towards delivering family planning services. The religious endorsement on birth spacing, which was achieved in the Population Summit in 2015, should be more widely disseminated so that social obstacles to family planning uptake are reduced.

Federal Minister for National Health Services Muhammad Yusuf Shaikh expressed these views during an interaction with Dr. Zeba Sathar, Country Director of Population Council, and Dr. Ali Mir, Director Programmes, who briefed him on the current population scenario of Pakistan.

The Minister said that the alarmingly high population growth rate of Pakistan is a matter of grave concern as it is strongly impacting the country’s development prospects. “As a crosscutting issue, the population factor is undermining national efforts to improve the standard of living of the people and is an added strain on the country’s limited non-renewable resources and the environment,” he said.

Dr. Zeba explained that there is now a wide political and religious consensus on tackling the population issue as the narrative on family planning has shifted from family limitation to improving the health and wellbeing of mothers and their children. “The focus has to be on improving the quality of life of all our citizens. This consensus now needs to be translated into meaningful actions,” she advised.

The minister said that the population problem should be one of the key priorities of any government, if we are to improve our social indicators and catch up with neighbouring countries who have done far better than Pakistan. There is little opposition to making this a national priority.

He expressed the government’s unequivocal support to endeavours being made in this direction and assured that all concerned departments would play their due role to reduce fertility and to curb the unsustainable population growth rate.