Rapid population growth main hurdle in achieving health, education & economic goals

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Zubair Qureshi

Integration of health and population welfare services is critical for improving the quality of life and wellbeing of our people.

Pakistan’s rapid population growth poses serious challenges in achieving its development prospects.

These views were expressed by Dr Nausheen Hamid, Member National Assembly and Parliamentary Secretary for Health in her keynote address to the young parliamentarians at an advocacy seminar on Pakistan’s population.

The government continues to advocate for population stabilization to achieve balance between population and resources, said Dr Nausheen adding, “We are taking measures to meet the country’s development prospects and to improve health and wellbeing of our people.”

The meeting was organized by the Population Center Pakistan in collaboration with the Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF), the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) and the Population Council.

The seminar was held to facilitate young legislators to broaden their understanding of Pakistan’s population dynamics and its impact on national development indicators.

Young parliamentarians, representing major political parties from the National and Provincial Assemblies, and members from the Legislative Assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan attended the meeting.

Addressing Members of Parliament at the meeting, MNA Dr. Nausheen Hamid pointed out parliamentarians’ role as pivotal for oversight and accountability to address the population challenge.

Dr. Nausheen called out to Young Parliamentarians to become role models for their young constituents and advocate for change in fertility behaviors amongst youth.
In his welcome remarks, Farooq Azam, CEO, Population Centre Pakistan shed light on the impact of rapid population growth and asked the elected representatives from National and Provincial Assemblies to take immediate measures for reducing the growth rate to a sustainable level.

“The critical mass of young, dynamic legislators can help increase the acceptability and dissemination of the rationale behind the Council of Common Interests decisions to check population growth and the new messaging on balance between population and resources amongst youth,” he said.

In her remarks, General Secretary of the Young Parliamentarians Forum and Member, National Assembly, Uzma Riaz said that multifarious challenges of a rapidly growing population call for stronger political commitment and investment in family planning programs in Pakistan.

She further stated that ensuring universal access to family planning is not just critical but also a cost-effective intervention for attaining sustainable population growth and poverty alleviation.

Citing Pakistan’s high population growth rate, Dr. Zeba Sathar, Country Director, Population Council said sustainable population growth will result in less children out of school and fewer people living in poverty.

“The Council of Common Interests recommendations of 2018 provide an excellent roadmap for achieving sustainable population growth and need to be implemented in their true letter and spirit.

Parliamentarians, both at the federal and provincial levels, have a critical role in creating a conducive environment through grass root accountability; advocacy for population stabilization and strong policy reforms centered on capturing the demographic dividend in the country.”

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