Syed Kamal Shah
Based on the findings of the 2017 population census, the present assessment of Pakistan’s demographic situation points to the country’s continuing significant population increase, which has averaged 2.4 percent yearly over the years 1998 to 2017. Between 1951 and 2017, Pakistan’s population expanded six times, from 34 million in 1951 to 208 million in 2017. The United Nations Population Division’s medium projection indicates that Pakistan’s projected population will reach 263 million by 2030 and 383 million by 2050, or an increase of about 84% during the 2017–2050 period, unless substantial measures are taken to slow population growth and rationalize population dynamics.
This alarming trend is expected to persist in the future. The rapid growth in population is brought on by the gradual and delayed reduction of national and provincial fertility rates. A woman in Pakistan would typically have 3.6 children by the end of her reproductive cycle, according to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS, 2017–2018), a decline of roughly 1.3 children (27%) from 1990–1991. The gradual drop in fertility rates over the past 1.5 decades transformed the country’s age structure, delayed the start of the demographic transition, and accelerated population growth rates that were already high. High fertility rates are primarily caused by universal marriage and very low contraceptive prevalence rate.
We at the Rahnuma-FPAP are striving hard to overcome the stumbling block hindering our population management measures and exacerbating our overall socioeconomic outlook through policy level advocacy and innovative FP&RH services delivery interventions at the community levels while targeting vulnerable and marginalized sections of society. During 2022 Rahnuma-FPAP remained engaged with policy stakeholders at the federal, provincial and regional levels through networking and coalition building for greater political ownership of population issues. Rahnuma-FPAP being a CSOs focal point of FP2030 Country Engagement Working Groups (CEWG), Government of Pakistan (FP2030 CEWG is an apex Public Sector forum to monitor the progress on FP2030 Pakistan commitments). We conducted three policy dialogues, more than twelve lobbying meetings with Federal and Provincial policy makers, efforts of all the partners including the public sector resulted in the approval provisions for contraceptives procurement at National level Besides all Provincial Population Welfare Departments (PWDs) and Health Departments at the platform of Provincial Population Task Forces (PTF) have committed to double the Provincial Population Welfare & Health budgets for FP/RH for next two years in line with Council of Common Interest (CCI) recommendations. The process of aligning the CCI Web Portal with FP 2030 indicators is yet another step in the right direction.
Rahnuma-FPAP has signed MoU with PDMA Balochistan to build its capacity on MISP and conduct twelve capacity building sessions with PDMA staff on MISP. Moreover we signed MoU with Provincial Aids Control Program Balochistan for referring of clients for screening of HIV positive patients. MoU was also signed with DoH Balochistan and PWD Balochistan for the capacity building of their staff on LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraception). Rahnuma-FPAP signed MoU with Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees (CAR) Balochistan to support the Afghan communities on FP and RH issues while conducting outreach RH camps and community awareness sessions. Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) KP included MISP in the District level Contingency Plans under District Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) protocols to better protect pregnant women and new born children during disaster and emergency situations. Rahnuma-FPAP signed MoU with School Education Department KP to conduct LSBE Sessions in six selected schools and build capacity of teachers on LSBE and population issues. Department of Youth Affairs Punjab engaged Rahnuma-FPAP to reactivate the Punjab Youth Helpline and Kamyab Jawan Markaz to provide counseling, information, skills, and opportunities to marginalized youth population. Rahnuma-FPAP and PWD Punjab organized a Poster Competition to highlight the importance of family planning and Secretary PWD Punjab, distributed shields amongst successful poster presenters. We also signed MoU with Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC) and Soft Solutions (Ilm Ki Dunya) for dissemination of Life Skilled Base Education (LSBE). Through this initiative PVTC will disseminate life skills and entrepreneurship training to 45000 people in partnership with Rahnuma-FPAP while Soft Solutions (Ilm ki Dunya) will digitalize the LSBE with Android app LMS (Learning Management System).
During 2022 Rahnuma-FPAP provided 16.1 million FP &RH Services through its ten fully equipped Family Health Hospitals, more than one hundred Family Health Centers and thousands Community Based Distributors and Private Practitioners which benefitted hundred thousand people annually while achieving 3.9 million CYPs. We also provided 1.2 million HIV &AIDS services, 3.26 million gynecology, 4.73 million obstetric services and 0.44 million menstruation regulation services. 93.9% of services were provided to women and 55.6% of these services were specifically targeted to vulnerable and marginalized community groups across Pakistan.