President’s focus on population issue

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AS population of the country is increasing at a rapid pace putting enormous burden on available resources, President Dr Arif Alvi has taken upon himself to highlight the issue of population explosion and this became evident when he had a detailed interaction with senior journalists emphasizing media’s key role in addressing the issues and challenges related to population and health.

He pointed out that Pakistan’s rapid population growth was resulting in implications on the socio-economic development of the country and called for a broad-based campaign at the national level to raise awareness among the people.

The laudable initiative of the President comes in the backdrop of reports that the country’s population is set to reach 285 million in just eight years i.e.in 2030.

Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Dr.Faisal Sultan, who is instrumental in sensitizing the masses about the issue, cautioned on the occasion that unplanned population growth could become an issue of national security, where the future generation grows in absence of proper education and health facilities.

It is quite obvious that the prevailing population growth of 2.4% would land the country in serious troubles if practical steps are not taken to check it right now and that can only be achieved by enlisting support of the opinion-makers like media-persons, parliamentarians, scholars, health professionals and religious scholars.

The gravity of the situation can be gauged by the fact that we are adding approximately 5.3 million people, equal to Norway, in our population every year.

Luckily, we have a detailed national action plan, which has been approved by the Council of Common Interests, and its implementation could help bring about a change in the situation.

We have before us the significant progress made by two Muslim countries – Bangladesh and Iran, which were able to achieve targets by integrating family planning into overall maternal, new-born health care programme besides raising women’s educational attainment and other socio-economic improvement.

An integrated approach will have to be adopted to make the campaign successful in Pakistan and this calls for taking all the stakeholders on board to address problems like high fertility rate, early marriages, minimum use of contraceptives, lack of education, alarming poverty, lack of entertainment facilities and religious dimensions.

We hope that the President and the Special Assistant would take the campaign to fruition with the support of the provinces and relevant ministries and departments.

 

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