Experts have called for making family planning strategies more effective by engaging religious leaders in order to control the population growth in Pakistan.
They were speaking at a conference organsied by the National Institute of Population Studies in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), said a press release.
The Population Council Chairperson Dr Zeba Sattar in her presentation on maternal-infant mortality rate and way forward to improve the figures said that Pakistan’s population is expected to reach 342 million by 2050, but it can be reduced to 246 million by effective family planning.
She suggested winning clerics’ support for family planning and also sensitising men, as they are the decision-makers in most households.
Sattar said the Population Council has started a campaign ‘Falah’ in which family planning teams are approaching local clerics for support. She also highlighted the need to improve the quality of contraceptives as people discontinue the use if they do not get the desired results.
She said the unwanted 4 million pregnancies out of annual 9 million may be avoided by educating people on the importance of using contraceptives.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Minister for Population Meher Taj emphasised exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of the birth as a natural birth control mechanism and for better maternal and infant health.
Delegates from Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Indonesia, Morocco and Nepal among others participated in the conference and shared their experiences of improving mother and child health through promoting family planning strategies.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2014.