Lawmakers express concerns over nutrition, healthcare facilities in flood zone


600,000 pregnant women have no place to deliver their babies

Zubair Qureshi

Around 600,000 pregnant women in flood affected areas are without sufficient maternal health services and have no safe place even to deliver babies.

Besides, there are over 5 million children in flooded areas who have no immunization and nutrition care and the government is making fast-track efforts to restore reproductive health services for women, pregnant women and children.

These views were shared at the 7th meeting of the Parliamentary Forum on Population (PFP) here on Thursday. The meeting was organized by the Population Council and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Minister of State for Finance and Revenue, Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha was the chief guest on the occasion.

Members of the Senate, legislators from the national and provincial assemblies, and regional body of Gilgit-Baltistan representing all major political parties attended the meeting. The PFP is a cross-party platform to raise parliamentary awareness on population and development, sustain cross-party political commitment and advocate for population stabilization.

Addressing the forum, Dr. Aisha Pasha said that the international community should channel funds into priorities that support climate-hit countries like Pakistan.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Zeba Sathar, Country Director Population Council highlighted that floods in Pakistan have aggravated pre-existing vulnerabilities of marginalized population.

Citing national data, she said 19 million people out of the 31 million persons living in the severely-affected areas are poor.

Samia Ali Shah Project director Population Council shared the plight of women and children affected by the floods in the severely affected districts especially how lack of reproductive health services was impacting their lives and that we must strengthen the community based providers to help them provide much needed services to their communities.

Parliamentarians called on the donor community to urgently prioritize the needs of women and girls who disproportionately bear the brunt of the devastating impacts of climate change as we are witnessing during the current floods.

Dr Bakhtior Kadirov, Country Representative a.i. UNFPA said that a comprehensive strategy, with family planning taking center stage, needs to be implemented by taking all the stakeholders on board and parliamentarians have a pivotal role to play for the success of this resilience rehabilitation.

He said, “Family planning is part of the healthcare services package that we all are delivering at this time of crisis. UNFPA is ready to play its role in building the resilience of institutions and communities.”

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