Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pakistan - Population Growth is linked to Development: Aseefa Bhutto

Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari has stressed that rapid population growth is an issue that cannot be seen in isolation from development, as the effects of population growth affect all development sectors. She was speaking as guest of honor at the 6th Meeting of the Sindh FP2020 Working Group here. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, MNA and the Chair of Sindh FP2020 Working Group.
Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari pledged her support for the objectives of the FP2020 Working Group on unchecked population growth. Ms. Bhutto-Zardari further said she may also visit districts and rural and remote areas and would play her role to mobilize young women and girls so that Sindh can achieve its policy objectives under international commitments made by Pakistan.
Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, while chairing the meeting said that Planned Parenthood is one of the ways to address poverty. She stressed the need for reducing high fertility which is a main cause for rapid population growth. She emphasized that it was necessary to engage young couples for Planned Parenthood. She pointed out the need for integrating Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) methods into the curriculum so that adolescents are educated about their basic needs of nutrition, hygiene, planning their future and other needs.
Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Coordinator for Public Health Oversight Committee, Sindh said that the efforts of the Sindh FP2020 Working Group are regarded as best practice by other provinces, and Sindh has become a role model in this regard since, it is far ahead in achieving its FP2020 goals.
Dr. Talib Lashari, Technical Advisor, CIP and Focal Person, FP2020 gave a detailed presentation on linkages between planned parenthood and socio-economic development and the status of implementation on CIP activities in Sindh. Dr. Lashari said that rising population strains infrastructure and social services like electricity, clean water, education, health, transportation etc. He said that as per credible surveys, the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of Sindh stands at 30% which means fewer couples are using Planned Parenthood services. If the lower rate of CPR continues it will require more hospitals, schools to be built; more jobs to be created and more need for food. Dr. Lashari said that Sindh is the first province to come up with a robust family planning initiative called Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) in response to Pakistan’s international commitments thus; Sindh government is trying best to address the issue of rapid population growth.
Dr. Fazlullah Pechuho, Secretary Health, Sindh said that the Department was working towards integrating the different health programs related to planned parenthood to make a coordinated effort to ensure the provision of services.
Laeeq Ahmed, Secretary Population Welfare Department, Sindh pointed out that the province was making much progress on FP2020 initiative because there was commitment from the highest level of the government.
The representative from the Finance and Planning and Development Departments also committed their support in the ongoing work towards achieving Sindh’s FP2020 goals.
The meeting was attended by the members of FP2020 Working Group consisting of multiple stakeholders, including public sector organizations; USAID and its partners; United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA); non-government organizations, professional organizations like Society of Gynecologists of Pakistan (SOGP); NCMNCH; donors and other development partners.
At the end, Dr. Talib Lashari presented a copy of the Costed Implementation Plan to Ms. Aseefa Bhutto Zardari.

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