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Wednesday Jun 22, 2016

Pakistan misses family planning targets

Pakistan misses family planning targets

ISLAMABAD: After missing family planning targets, Pakistan has failed to control the rapid increase in population at the rate of 10,109 people a day.

According to Economic Survey of Pakistan, total population of Pakistan was projected to be 188.02 million in 2014 but next year it increased by 3.69 million reaching 191.71 million in year 2015. The government has projected again the same growth in the current year 2016 when the population would reach the mark of 195.4 million.

The same report says maternal mortality rate has improved from 197/100,000 in 2012 to 178/100,000 in 2015 due to improved healthcare system which includes establishment of Basic Health Units (BHUs), Rural Health Centers (RHCs). Available reproductive healthcare services are free of charge.

The report says the decline in children mortality rate in Pakistan is the slowest in the region. It is decreasing continuously as infant mortality rate declined from 71 per thousand infants in 2012 to 66 per thousand infants in 2015 while the child mortality rate has decreased from 88 per thousand children in 2012 to 81 per thousand children in 201.

The data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) indicates overall performance of family planning declined by 7.2 percent in the year 2014-15 as compared to the previous year. The overall contraceptive performance for the year 2014-15 in terms of Couple Years of Protection (CYP) has decreased by 7.2 % in comparison with the last year 2013-14. The province-wise profile of CYP indicates a decrease in all provinces – Punjab (13.4%), Sindh (2.2%), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (10.2%) and Balochistan (1.3%).

The data shows that significant decrease in progress of Punjab for 2014-15 over 2013-14 is due to shortage of technical staff i.e. Family Welfare Councilors/Workers and Women Medical Officers, coupled with some other factors like engagement of staff in refresher training; low clientage due to severe weather conditions & heavy rains; shifting of Family Welfare Centers to Health Outlets and insufficient contraceptive availability in some districts.

Significant decrease in progress of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for 2014-15 over 2013-14 is due to completion of project life and resulted in termination of 550 FWCs project employees along with deregistration of 480 Male Mobilizers by June 2014. As far as the district Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan are concerned, the contraceptive performance has depicted a decrease of 0.1% and 19.4% respectively, compared with the previous year.

Significant decrease in progress of GB during 2014-15 over 2013-14 is due to shortage of contraceptive (Norigest), poor performance (low sale of contraceptives) of Male Mobilizers and declined progress of MSU component. During Oct-Dec, 2013, a total 51 MSU camps were arranged whereas during Oct-Dec, 2014 only 13 MSU camps were held. The performance of AJK and Fata has increased by 43.7% and 2.9% respectively for 2014-15 compared with the year 2013-14. Significant increase in progress of AJK for 2014-15 over 2013-14 is due to availability of medicines and increased frequency of mobile camping.

Pakistan is the 6th most populous country in the world with estimated projected population of 191.71 million and Growth Rate of 1.92 percent. The population growth is one of the key factors affecting economic development of a country.

There is an alarming trend of increase in urban population as every year cities’ population swelled by more than 2.69 million to 2.74 million. Pakistan population is projected to increase to over 227 million by 2025. It is well established fact that, other than oil rich economies, no country can prosper without a radical reduction in its population growth rate.

—Originally published in The News