Alvi for attitudinal change towards family planning

Zubair Qureshi

President Dr Arif Alvi has called for bringing attitudinal change in society towards family planning to advance reproductive health and effectively manage the growing population in Pakistan.

The rapid population growth is placing tremendous strain on national resources, and family planning was the key intervention to check the increasing population growth, the president expressed these views while talking to the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Luay Shabaneh, who called on him, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, on Monday. Talking to Dr Shabaneh, the president said the religious scholars, media, and opinion leaders could help bring positive behavioural changes in society by supporting family planning processes in the country.

He said that national religious scholars and media needed to raise awareness about family planning by educating the people. He emphasized that all stakeholders should make coordinated efforts to promote family planning and better family health as basic human rights of married couples.

The president highlighted that 50pc of pregnancies in Pakistan, out of 9 million, were unwanted due to the unmet need of its population for family planning products and services. He underscored the need for taking measures to improve the health and nutrition of its people, especially maternal and reproductive health, reducing the maternal and infant mortality rate, and stunting and malnutrition.

He called for taking effective measures by the provincial governments, civil society, NGOs, media organizations, religious scholars, and relevant government departments and agencies to advance the agenda of family planning and better health in the country.

Dr Luay Shabaneh briefed the President about the role of UNFPA in the promotion of family planning services in Pakistan. He informed said that UNFPA had been a lead organization which supported all the Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in Pakistan so far, besides supporting Pakistan’s efforts towards the accelerated delivery and accessibility of high-quality family planning information and services.