LAHORE: To tackle the rapidly increasing population growth rate in the province, the Population Welfare Department (PWD) Punjab has planned to spend half of its developmental budget on public awareness regarding contraceptive methods to promote family planning.
According to an official document, the Punjab government by realizing the need to promote family planning across Punjab due to rapidly growing challenges had increased the PWD's annual budget more than 100 percent and allocated Rs 9,543.57 million to it. Of them, Rs 2,100 million will be spent on uplift projects while the rest of the amount will end up in meeting the departmental expenditures.
The document, a copy of which is available with Business Recorder, says that a total of Rs 412 million were allocated to complete six ongoing schemes of the department, including E-registration of newly-wed or about to wed couples, franchising of clinical services (phase-II), construction of regional training institutes in Faisalabad and Sahiwal, establishment of strategic planning unit and involvement of Imams and Khateebs to promote family planning.
About the new schemes, the population department will spend Rs 1,074 million on 12 developmental projects. Of them, a total of Rs 693 million have been set aside for public awareness drives which included Rs 219.242 million for pre-marital counseling, Rs 170 million for strengthening services, access and management of family planning programmes in Punjab, Rs 204 million for advocacy campaign for call of action for social behavior and Rs 100 million for engaging religious scholars to promote contraceptive measures. Moreover, Rs 613 million was allocated to the Punjab Population Innovation Fund.
An official said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had personally taken interest in the matter and directed the Punjab government to take adequate steps to promote contraceptive measures with the help of religious scholars. Therefore, the paid "special attention" and increased the PWD's budget 100 times, she added. According to her, the PWD has started engaging religious scholars of different school of thought to raise awareness among the people about the contraceptive measures as their support would play a pivotal role for the cause in light of Islamic teachings. "A book for Ulemas containing information on the importance of family planning, reproductive health, nutrition, breastfeeding, vaccination, mother and child healthcare and other issues is also being prepared which will be given to them shortly," she revealed.
She further said that the department is also planning to establish "model family welfare centres" which will provide integrated package of family planning, reproductive and mother and child healthcare services under one roof.
Meanwhile, Provincial Minister for Population Welfare Hashim Dogar on Monday inaugurated a pilot project of "E-Registration of Eligible Couples" in 10 districts.
Addressing the ceremony, the minister said that if today we do not address the issue of increasing population then in future we will be held responsible of all problems. He also warned that there is no room for incompetence and ignorance in this department.
An official told Business Recorder that the department had earlier launched the pilot project of e-registration of eligible couples in five districts of the province. Under the initiative, he explained that the newly-wed or about to wed couples can approach the population department online for counseling and medications for contraceptives.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021