Population growth is only an asset if it is sustainable, literate, and inclusive without mainstreaming opportunities for each citizen, our people will remain subjects; but not citizens.
Col. (Retd.) Sardar Muhammad Hashim Dogar
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 the highest growth rate among the South Asian countries despite the change in fertility trends during the last three decades. 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 favor of Family Planning Programmes. Further, specially designed interactive campaigns have been developed and are being launched to address special groups such as policymakers, 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 Punjab to provide all people the right to enjoy reproductive health, which is a basis for having healthy children, intimate relationships, 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 with the 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 are vital to help us achieve this vision.