For better health of women and children, Pakistan needs political will

Published: March 1, 2013

The speakers at the ‘Spacing for Transition’ seminar stressed on the importance of improving women’s health since that has repercussions on the quality of life of everyone around her. PHOTO CREDIT: PATHFINDER

KARACHI: If Pakistan wants to save the lives of its women and newborn babies, it needs the political will to do so.

On Wednesday, the speakers at a seminar on ‘Spacing for Transition’ agreed that a strong commitment is the first step towards family planning. They were highlighting the issues raised at the London Summit on Family Planning.

Pathfinder International, Pakistan – a global organisation working towards better sexual and reproductive health – organised the seminar and invited Dr Sheeba Raza, Tauseef Ahmed, Dr Saifullah Qaim Khani, Dr Taha Farooqi and others to speak.

Investing in women’s health not only improves her life, but the quality of life of her family, community and eventually her country. More than half of the world’s unpaid labour comes from women, therefore, their contribution needs to be recognised.

The speakers stressed on improving health systems and people’s access to them. For this, they suggested reaching out to various population groups, especially the youth, to make sure they pay attention to their reproductive health needs.

Special attention needs to be paid to improving the quality of prenatal delivery and post-partum care, urged the speakers, adding that this is the key to save the lives of young girls, women and newborns. In fact, family planning needs to be repositioned and revitalised, and access should be expanded to meet the contraception needs of young people.

The speakers admitted that Asia has a huge population with disparities so any family planning initiative will have to take that into account. Any policy should be framed after consulting all the relevant stakeholders and then figure out priority areas within these disparate regions.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2013.

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