Fam­ily plan­ning

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - MIQDAD SIBTAIN

De­spite re­peated ef­forts made by the suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments, to con­trol pop­u­la­tion growth in the coun­try, Pak­istan is still lag­ging be­hind its neigh­bours in pro­mot­ing fam­ily plan­ning and birth con­trol meth­ods. A num­ber of or­ga­ni­za­tions both, gov­ern­ment, non- gov­ern­ment and pri­vate firms are work­ing in var­i­ous parts of Pak­istan to cre­ate aware­ness about the ben­e­fits of fam­ily plan­ning and as to how fam­i­lies can live a bet­ter life if they have fewer chil­dren.

Com­mu­nity mid­wives are be­ing trained by these com­pa­nies’ own doc­tors and train­ers or through in­ter­na­tional help. In some cases in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions work­ing in Pak­istan are train­ing batches of train­ers who are then im­part­ing train­ing to thou­sands of lady health vis­i­tors around the coun­try. Lady health vis­i­tors or com­mu­nity mid­wives are women who are usu­ally cho­sen from within a district to pro­vide fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices to the peo­ple of her com­mu­nity with the sup­port of an or­ga­ni­za­tion.

A cou­ple of pri­vate sec­tor en­ti­ties and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions are shoul­der­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pop­u­la­tion plan­ning, in wake of the in­dif­fer­ence and eva­sive­ness of the pub­lic sec­tor in Pak­istan. The devo­lu­tion of the sub­ject to the Prov­inces un­der the 18th Amend­ment has fur­ther eclipsed the sub­ject. A hand­ful of non- gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions like DKT Pak­istan are how­ever, play­ing a vis­i­bly vi­tal role to­wards this ob­jec­tive, through es­tab­lish­ment of Dhanak Health­care Cen­ters across the ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas of the coun­try which are run by trained com­mu­nity mid­wives ( CMW) cho­sen from the area. These cen­ters are not only pro­vid­ing fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices to lo­cal peo­ple, but they are also pro­vid­ing a liveli­hood for the CMWs.

How­ever, de­spite the in­crease in ac­cess to fam­ily plan­ning coun­sel­lors and prod­ucts many women who want to adopt mod­ern con­tra­cep­tive meth­ods are un­able to ac­cess prod­uct. Cul­tural norms, fam­ily ex­pec­ta­tions and lack of dis­creet ac­cess to fam­ily plan­ning prod­ucts and ser­vices hin­der con­tra­cep­tive use, es­pe­cially by young cou­ples.

Fam­ily plan­ning in a coun­try like Pak­istan is not easy be­cause of the many cul­tural and re­li­gious re­stric­tions that ex­ist. But if the masses keep avoid­ing this is­sue it is highly likely that their off­spring will be liv­ing in an over­bur­dened coun­try which won’t have enough re­sources to sup­port the pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion. Ma­jor­ity par­ents want their chil­dren to live a happy and pros­per­ous life but given the con­tin­u­ing in­ci­dence of the rate at which the pop­u­la­tion of Pak­istan is grow­ing, how many par­ents can ac­tu­ally en­sure that their chil­dren will get a good life if the is­sue of fam­ily plan­ning is not spo­ken about and con­trolled. — Via email

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