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 an initiative, the Population Welfare Department Government of Punjab has involved the religious community in the advocacy campaign for Family Planning. This strategy has proved quite successful in shifting public opinion in favour of Family Planning Programmes. Further, specially designed interactive campaigns have been developed and are being launched to address special groups such as policy makers, opinion leaders, youths and adolescents. 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 Punjab Population Policy 2017 encompasses a vision of a healthy, prosperous and knowledge based society where every family is planned, every member nurtured and all citizens are provided witht he opportunity to attain improvement in the quality of their lives. Intersectoral collaboration and individual responsibility on the part of men and women to control family size is vital to help us achieve this vision.
Dr. Ismat Tahira