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KARACHI: Stressing the need and importance of family planning towards achieving national goals and country’s development, experts lauded the role of Provincial Minister of Health and Population Welfare (Sindh), Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho and Secretary Health Sindh, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, for their continuous efforts towards putting the agenda of family planning at the forefront and introducing reproductive health bill.

These thoughts were expressed in FP (Family Planning) 2030 meeting, held in commemoration of World Population Day. Participants of the meeting highlighted the impact of high population growth rate on its socio-economic development and emphasized its linkages with rising poverty and disparity, to climate change, high urbanization and urban migration, all restraining investment in human development and improving lives of people. Pakistan has made its FP2030 commitments in line with its national goals agreed under the CCI recommendations and the targets set for the National Action Plan.

Technical Advisor and Focal Person FP 2030, Dr Talib Lashari highlighted key reforms made under the FP2030 working group such as functional integration between Department of Health and Population Welfare Department. He added that significant progress had been observed in the areas of staff capacity building, youth engagement, legislative reforms and life skills-based education. He also shared the implementation progress of self-injectable DMPA-SC (Sayana Press) in Sindh and noted that CIP was moving to initiate self-injection by clients.

Speaking at the event, Country Advisor Gates Foundation, Dr Yasmin Qazi shared the historical perspective on family planning in Pakistan and stressed that “we need to work collaboratively to address the gaps and fulfill the unmet needs of couples who want access to family planning support. For this we need to ensure steady supply of contraceptive commodities supplemented by behavior change engagement and counselling.”

Country Director Jhpiego, Dr Fauzia Assad said that an integrated multi-sectoral approach was imperative for expansion of family planning choices by scaling up self-injection contraceptives. She added that “we need to continue to innovate by inclusion of concepts such a self-care in family planning and in particular focus upon engaging men in the ongoing discourse of family planning.

President Szabist University Shehnaz Wazir Ali remarked that joint planning was critical for creating cohesion amongst FP2030 partners and assured galvanizing academia support for partners. She also appreciated CIP for being acknowledged as global best practice model out of 43 countries.

UNFPA representative Renuka Swami cautioned that with the world population reaching eight billion it underscored the need for moving from number towards making informed choices. She suggested to engaging young people in the discourse of family planning.

Dr Mohiuddin, RIZ consulting said that one of the core indicators under FP2030 was increasing the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) and for that it was imperative to scale-up new modern contraceptive such as self-injectable Sayanna Press.

Programme Officer FP BMG, Linnea Eitmann stated that she was invigorated by the joint partnership and the leadership of Minister Dr Azra and CIP and commended how Pakistan was inclined towards gender transformative approaches and based on the enthusiasm towards change working Pakistan would be a priority. She also informed the participants regarding Gates Foundation three core components i.e. expanding method choice, developing new and improved contraceptive methods and lastly increasing access to each method.

The meeting concluded with the FP2030 partners reaffirming their support for the unified goal for working collaboratively for balanced population management and resultantly as stronger prosperous Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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