Today Pakistan faces unprecedented challenges including climate change, food and water shortages and a severe energy crisis, all of which are aggravated by a rapidly increasing population. Rapid population growth is contributing to environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources, all of which are finite. Therefore we are left with the necessity of controlling population numbers.
Pakistan exhibits highest growth rate among the South Asian countries inspite of change in fertility trends during last three decades. In order to address this issue, the Population Welfare Department Punjab has brought a paradigm shift from Family Planning to Reproductive Health Services. A strong commitment to control population growth and to provide Reproductive Health Services especially to the marginalized is the priority of the department. As part of rigorous efforts towards making reproductive health services accessible to all those who need it and for shifting public opinion i9n favour of Family Planning Programmes, the Population Welfare Department Government of Punjab has involved the religious community in the advocacy campaign for Family Planning. Mobile Service Units are being re-activated and private providers involved in the programme to overcome barriers to access by making quality family planning services available both beyond government working hours and in un- and under served areas. The involvement of civil society, religious leaders, media and NGOs for promotion and acceptance of family planning services is pivotal for Population Welfare in Punjab.
It is the commitment of the Population Welfare Department, Government of the Punjab to provide all people the right to enjoy reproductive health, which is a basis for having healthy children, intimate relationship and happy families. The vision of the Population Policy of Punjab is to achieve population stabilization by 2030 through the expeditious completion of demographic transition that entails declines both in fertility and mortality rates. Individual responsibility on the part of men and women to control family size is vital to help us achieve this vision.
Dr. Ismat Tahira