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600 pregnant women die annually in Pakistan

600 pregnant women die annually in Pakistan

By: Ijaz Kakakhel

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar, titled ‘Towards Realising Family Planning Vision 2020’, on Thursday said more than 200 million women and girls in developing countries lack access to contraceptives and family planning information, which results in death of many women.

The Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP) had arranged the seminar.

After the 18th Amendment, the Population Ministry has been devolved to provinces and of 17 related departments, 14 have been decentralised. Except for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, all other provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir could not have any population policy.

Nabila Malik of FPAP told participants that contraceptive use in Pakistan is about 30 percent while Pakistan had committed in London Summit 2012 on Family Planning, which was attended by 180 countries, to increase the contraceptive use up to 55 percent.

In this regard, facilities will be increased both at public and private level and supply line would be improved, she said. In Islamabad, she added, the use of contraceptive is 59 percent while in rural areas of the country the situation is worse.

In Pakistan, 100,000 lady health workers are providing family planning facilities but recently due to funds shortage, they were not paid their salaries properly.

Nabila regretted that there is no population policy in Punjab while the KP has drafted a proper policy.

“In Sweden, not a single woman dies during pregnancy while in Pakistan about 600 women die annually due to pregnancy complications. In Iran, before marriage, a whole day compulsory briefing is given and in some cases blood test is also carried out. Iran has always received five top medals at international level over population related policies.”

She said Pakistan is at the lowest in devising population welfare programmes in the region, adding that Pakistan required huge investment in population welfare programmes.

“For abortion, married women usually go to untrained health officials because the government has banned this practice. When abortion cases become complicated, these women are admitted to government hospitals. Usually, such women don’t want more children and want abortion but they are not allowed to do this legally,” Nabila said.

Pakistan has committed in London Summit on Family Planning, which was held on July 11, 2012 that it would take several measures to control higher population growth rate.

“The FPAF has plan Family Planning 2020 for population welfare programmes. It has been proven that family planning saves lives, improves health, strengthens communities, and stimulates economic growth. Contraceptives are one of the best investments a country can make in its future,” she said.

Family Planning 2020 builds on the partnerships launched at the London Summit on Family Planning. It will sustain the momentum from London and ensure all partners are working together to achieve and support the goals and commitment s announced at the summit.

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