History

Population growth in Pakistan has shown continued increase since the 1940s due to reduced mortality and persistent high birth rates. The country's population grew from nearly 33 million in 1947 to about 173.56 million to date–an increase of almost six times since the year of independence. Continued rapid growth in population has ranked Pakistan sixth in world and the third biggest contributor to world population growth. With a very young age structure, and a large number of people about to enter the reproductive years, the population has the potential to grow rapidly in the near future, even though fertility is expected to fall substantially. The Population Welfare Programme is a social development activity aimed at reducing population growth rate which is a necessity for developing countries like Pakistan.

 
 
The Seventh Decade (2010- Present) Top
In 2010 as a consequence of the 18th amendment in the constitution, the Ministry of Population Welfare ceased to exist and its functions were devolved to the provinces under Population Welfare Departments. The Secretariat of the Provincial Population Welfare Department Punjab is headed by an Administrative Secretary and funded from the Provincial budget. On the other hand, the Provincial Directorate is a federally funded programme, being funded through the Federal PSDP. It is headed by Director General and implemented in the field through 34 District and 117 Tehsil Population Welfare Offices, which in turn ensure quality service delivery through 119 Family Health Clinics (previously Reproductive Health Services Centers), 1500 Family Welfare Centers, 117 Mobile Service Units, 1665 Male Mobilizers, and 54 RHS B Centers. The total sanctioned strength of employees, ranging from BS 1-20, of the Department, is 10635.
 
The Sixth Decade (2000-2009) Top
On July 25, 2001 an Ordinance on “Transfer of Population Welfare Program (Field Activities) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2001″ was promulgated, inter-alia, declaring all Population Program employees as civil servants of the respective Provincial Governments.
The Population Policy of Pakistan was launched in July 2002 with the vision to achieve population stabilization by 2020 through the expeditious completion of the demographic transition that entails decline both in fertility and mortality rates.
During 2004, the Standing Committee of the National Assembly desired that service delivery points of the Population Welfare Program have ISO Certification so that their QOC would be recognized as per international standards and protocols. The programs countrywide network of outlets is mandated to deliver FP services, keeping special focus on QOC. The MOPW is the first ever public sector organization to have (ISO) 9001:2000 Certification for its service delivery outlets, through the United Registrars of Systems (URS), UK.
 
The Fifth Decade (1990-1999) Top
With the end of the Zia regime in 1989, the population program saw strong political support from the highest levels and during the 1990s, the governments strong and explicit support to family planning program gave it a turning point. On 27th of June 1990 the Ministry of Population Welfare was created to look after the affairs of Population Welfare. The Federal Government was responsible for the overall execution and entire funding of the Population Welfare Program through this Ministry. An Inter-Ministerial Committee consisting of Ministers for Planning and Development, Education, Health, Information and Population Welfare was set up for effective implementation of Population Welfare Programme. Pakistan became a signatory to the ICPD plan of action and therefore the Reproductive Health Package was introduced to target population through the department.
For expanding coverage a new infrastructure of village based family planning workers was created to take the services to the door steps of the people.
 
The Fourth Decade (1980-1989)  Top
In 1980 the Population Division, formerly under the direction of a minister of state, was renamed the Population Welfare Division and transferred to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development. This agency was charged with the delivery of both family planning services and maternal and child health care. Community participation had finally become a cornerstone of the governments policy, and it was hoped that contraceptive use would rise dramatically. The population by 1980 had exceeded 84 million.
The process of organizational changes continued and the field activities and provision of services were transferred to the provincial governments, while finance and policy making was left with the federal government. The Pakistan Demographic Survey (PDS) of 1984-87 estimates indicated the crude birth rate at 43.3 per thousand and the total fertility rate (TFR) at 6.9 children per women.
During this period The National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) was established and the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) was institutionalized through the NGO Coordination Council (NGOCC). However, largely, the programme withered during this time due to reluctance of its leaders to provide strong support.
 
The Third Decade (1970-1979) Top
It was presumed that by 1970, about 18 percent of married women would be practicing contraception and this rate was expected to go up by 34 percent by the end of 1975. In late December 1971, the population was estimated at 65.2 million. The period between 1970 and 1978 was in fact, marked by the non-existence of a plan formulated specifically for Pakistan after the separation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from the country in 1971. In 1977, after the change in political set up in the country, the program met with severe criticism from the political and religious leaders, which led to the suspension of all program activities until 1979. The shutdown of activities effected the functioning of the program adversely. The results of the 1975 Pakistan Survey (PFS) revealed that the CPR was as low as 5.2 percent.
 
The Second Decade (1960-1969) Top
The Second – 5 year Plan (1960-65) was proposed for 20 years, after which sufficient awareness, motivation, and resources were anticipated to ensure continuing family planning without increased government support. It was primarily designed to influence social attitudes and practice in favor of family planning. Because of the limited reach of the Family Planning Association of Pakistan to cover population on a large scale, family planning services were initially provided through the outlets of the Health Department. To oversee these activities, small independent units were established in the Ministry of Health and Provincial Health Departments. The social research projects were initiated through donors as a support activity. At the end of 1964, there were 1589 family planning clinics functioning within the set up of health dispensaries, hospitals and maternal care centers. On the basis of a national cooperative study of the Lippes Loop and the Margulies spirals indicating satisfaction and acceptability by Pakistanis, the government endorsed use of the IUCD for women as a major method for future use in its national program.
In 1964, an evaluation revealed that the services were not reaching the target population through the health outlets as these were overburdened with the existing health needs of the people.
In 1965 an autonomous body — the Family Planning Council — was created under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to exclusively launch family planning activities that would have a wider area of coverage and more autonomy in operation. Furthermore, the National Board of Family Planning was formed to Advise Government Policies. The Council was later renamed as the Population Planning Council.
Later in March 1968 a separate Administrative Division was created, mass scale information, education and communication (IEC) activities were launched, and a service delivery network was established with a target of providing family planning services to 20 million couples in the country. In spite of 19 years of organized family planning efforts, supported by 14 years of active official support the results of the 1968-69 National Impact Survey highlighted the dismal performance of the Programme where only 6 percent of eligible couples were reported to be using contraceptives. However, success was noted in the spread of contraceptive knowledge as majority of married women were reported to have the knowledge of at least one method of family planning.
 
The First Decade (1950-1959) Top
The Programme was launched independently in 1953 through an NGO, the Family Planning Association of Pakistan, and focused on advocating and facilitating small family norms. At that time the population of Punjab was 20.54 million with every married woman bearing around 6-7 children. Three years later, as part of the first -5 year plan (1955-60), the government offered a small financial assistance to the Association to establish clinics in selected cities for providing family planning services. In 1958, it was realized that an active family planning program was the need of the moment.