A plea for family planning  

Letter August 28, 2018
Child health and out-of-school children were brought up in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden speech

ISLAMABAD: As a man of medicine with a deep vested interest in public health of this country, I was grateful that maternal and child mortality, malnutrition, child abuse and out-of-school children were brought up in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden speech.

However, I wish there was more emphasis on family planning. If with Khan’s words, with task forces disseminating education avidly and other measures, he was able to convince the rich and the poor alike to halt at their first or their second child, I believe, the rates of all these issues would plummet within a decade or two.

If the poor were having fewer children, they would have more of their finance to send their children to school and to feed them. Furthermore, the fewer children a woman has, the less chances of a pregnancy-related death. The more likelihood is that she could breastfeed properly (as her nutrition wouldn’t be compromised) and that would tackle malnutrition too.

It’s a vicious cycle that can be prevented just by halting the accelerated birth rate, which has had but a modest decrease in the history of the country.

The rich should be encouraged to sponsor the education and meals of a deserving child! If they don’t have to spend that portion of their finances on a child of their own, they could benefit another child. It can work wonders!

Now the demographic that follows Khan blindly, is the youth. His emphasis on family planning could change a whole generation and others to come.

This is not just a problem of the rural areas or inaccessible areas with steeply low literacy rates; this is equally an issue of the urban population.

I hope Prime Minister Khan will do the needful considering the negative effects that the population explosion is having on the country.

Vishal Farid Raza

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2018.

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