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ISLAMABAD: Expressing serious concerns over rapidly growing population of the country, the speakers at an event on Monday underscored the need for taking swift actions to manage the growing population.

Speaking at an event titled ‘Women Convention on Family Planning and Population’ jointly organized by the Population Programme Wing (PPW) of the Ministry of National Health Services and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), they said that with Pakistan’s population surged to 241 million in the recent census, projections hint at a staggering 383 million by 2050, therefore appropriate actions are crucial to manage this rapid growth effectively.

The main objective of the convention was to raise the awareness and knowledge of women, particularly the rural women on population issues and family planning. The target audience for the Convention was the women and mothers, mainly from the rural and per-urban areas.

The caretaker Federal Minister on National Health Services Dr Nadeem Jan acknowledged that country’s population was growing at an alarmingly high growth rate and every year there is addition of around 6.1 million individuals in our country which is more than the size of the total population of countries like Singapore, Denmark and Norway.

He said that one side Pakistan’s population was rapidly growing but on the other side resources are unavailable, therefore the country needs to create more opportunities by utilizing all means. He said the governments at all levels should focus on stabilization and management of our population at the family, community and country level.

He said that growing population was putting serious pressure on limited resources of the national economy. He suggested integrating the health, population and nutrition at the federal and provincial level which will synergize and complement each other. He quoted the example of Iran where family is taken as a unit.

Similarly, the government intends to include health, hygiene, nutrition etc. in the curricula to create awareness from the childhood. He said that health as well as the family planning is the fundamental human rights.

There is a direct link between female status and development. Women can contribute in the development through literate, educated, well aware and empowered females.

This is the way forward and the government intends to give due respect and status to the women at the policy level, number of lady health workers will be increased to 150,000.

We will integrate polio workers and volunteers which are our asset into LHWs to address the uncovered areas. Government will ensure due respect and dignity for the hospital staff nurses, midwives, doctors etc. and community workers.

There should be a dashboard at the district, provincial and federal level showing real time information on health, population and family planning indicates as to where we are going.

The government wants to revitalize the community health committees comprising local people, teaches, local religious leaders etc.

He said that the clerics have a special role in population stabilization and the government wants across the board collaboration which is the only solution and national development is joint responsibility.

He said that vision is important and Pakistan’s vision is that the Population stabilization is the fundamental strategy for development.

He praised the women and population program wing’s team of the Ministry of National Health Services for this important event and distributed shields among the best performers in the field of family planning, maternal and child health.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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