ISLAMABAD: As in all other countries, World Population Day is being observed in Pakistan on July 11. The day emphasises sustainability and improvement of the lives of people around the globe, while protecting earth’s resources. This year’s theme is ‘Everyone Counts.’
Pakistan is currently the sixth most populated country with an estimated population of 169,971,000. United Nation predicts that in 2050, Pakistan would become the world’s fourth most populous country after USA, China and India.
Joint Executive Director Polyclinic Hospital Dr Kausar Anis told The Express Tribune that the country’s population is increasing at an alarming rate; yet, no major initiative is being taken by the government to control it. “The lower class needs to be educated that having two children is enough.”
Dr Anis said that families in far-flung areas still have more then nine children. “They are not aware of the fact that having more children adds to financial and health problems.”
She urged the government to initiate a large scale awareness program for far flung areas of the country. “There should be door to door campaigns to educate families in rural areas about the importance of birth spacing and birth control.”
Dr Anis felt that rising population and limited resources are the major reasons behind the increase in suicide attempts in the country.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), despite various attempts by the government of Pakistan to control rapid population growth in the country, the total fertility rate (TFR) in the country has reduced very slowly as compared to other countries. TFR has reduced from 5.7 births per women during 1990-95 to 4.1 births per women during 2005-10.
Samreen Khan, an official of the Ministry of Population and Welfare, said that it is difficult to ascertain the exact figures of the current population of the country as the last census was inappropriately administered and did not provide accurate figures.
“Unless the government provides exact figures of the number of males, females, old and young, it is difficult to plan the number of hospitals, schools and colleges.” She stressed that population census should be thoroughly administered and ensure transparency.
According to the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) and Macro International Inc, the country’s growth rate has declined over 3 per cent in the previous decades to its current level of 1.9 per cent annually.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2010.