Even the educated people in our society does not opt for pre-marital counseling, said Professor Sadiah Ahsan Pal, a member of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Pakistan, while speaking at a seminar on health issues related to marriage at Jinnah hospital on Saturday.
The panelists stressed that certain medical procedures, such as screening for Thalassaemia and receiving Human Papilloma Virous vaccination, should be make compulsory for all couples before marriage by the government.
The vice-president of the society, Prof. Sheereen Z Bhutta, pointed out that around 25 per cent of married women in Pakistan wish to consider family planning but hesitate to approach doctors.
Many unplanned pregnancies result in abortions, which are dangerous for both, the mother and the child, she added. She pointed out that it was essential to raise awareness among the youth as Pakistan, which is the sixth most populous country in the world, is estimated to become the fourth most populated country by 2050.
Professor Pal went on to add that there are 890,000 abortions per year in Pakistan. Instead of using contraceptives, women use abortions to plan out their families, she lamented. According to her, at least 5.6 per cent of women who have abortions die during the process.
The president of Pakistan Medical Association, Dr Samrina Hashmi, who also spoke at the occasion, explained that around 200,000 women having abortions face complications. Dr Tasmeem Ahsan from Jinnah hospital added that the society must also shoulder some of the responsibility to raise awareness about birth control and contraceptives and not leave the entire situation to the health professionals.
A number of eminent doctors, students and members of the civil society, also attended the seminar.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2013.