11,000 women die annually in pregnancy-related complications

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Zubair Qureshi

Pakistan is among the countries with highest maternal mortality rate in the world as around 11,000 mothers die annually in pregnancy-related complications.

This was revealed during a media briefing organized by The Population Council with the support of the UNFPA. The event was held to mark the International Women’s Day on the theme of the International Women’s Day “Break The Bias.”

The speakers highlighted the fact that around 9 million girls have no access to education and more girls (37pc) are out of school in the country than boys (27pc). Similarly, only 25pc young women are part of the labour force as compared to 96% of men in the age group of 25–29. Child marriage is prevalent in various areas of the country and 18% girls get married before the age of 18. In addition to that, 8 million women face gender-based violence in one year in Pakistan.

At the briefing, the media personnel were apprised how socio-cultural biases affect the reproductive health rights of women and aggravate practices like child marriage.

In his welcome remarks, Dr. Ali Mir, Senior Director Programmes, Population Council said, “Media can be an effective tool to break the biases against women and to promote family planning as a socially and religiously acceptable practice.

Researcher and social activist, Ms. Fauzia Yazdani briefed the participants on determinants of child marriage and shed light on socio-economic factors of the practice.

Referring to International Women’s Day, Ms. Samia Ali Shah, Project Director, Population Council said, “Theme of International Women’s Day calls for ending the social discrimination which badly affects women’s health, especially reproductive health. There is a need to empower women through education so that they can take informed decisions about their reproductive health”. According to the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey (2018-19), only 10% women can take decisions about their health in Pakistan, she added.

Programme Specialist of UNFPA, Dr. Jamil Ahmed said that the mortality rate during pregnancy and childbirth in Pakistan is highest in the entire region and there is dire need to reduce it through advocacy, implementation of legislations.

 

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