ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a national consultation titled “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for all, NOW” have called for ensuring easy and decent healthcare services to women seeking consultation on reproductive health and family-planning. The event was organised by the Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre on Monday at a local hotel.
Shirkat Gah Womens Resource Centre Head Dr Tabinda Sarosh said that despite representing half the population and contributing to the nation’s economy through formal and informal labour, women continue to be socially, politically and economically marginalised.
She said that the evidence collected from Shirkat Gah’s two-year research on Pakistan’s progress towards meeting the millennium development goals indicated that the problem of poor health delivery services lies in bad governance and lack of transparency.
Planning Division Population Chief Shahzad Malik told The Express Tribune that allocations under the public sector development programme for population welfare have been increased substantially this year to take the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) from the current 35 per cent to 55 per cent in 2020. Punjab Population Welfare Department Secretary Altaf Ezid Khan said that there was a need to understand that sexual reproductive health was not just a clinical or health issue, but also a social issue. “There is a need to change the people’s mindset to understand the importance of sexual reproductive health,” he said.
For this, he said, there was a need of strong advocacy at the community level, besides providing teenagers with an understanding of their bodies.
Dr Adnan Khan from Research and Development Solutions said, “In our society, if an unmarried girl wanted to know about family planning, birth and other reproductive health-related issues, she is given offensive labels.”