Family planning is the sole responsibility of the provincial government after transfer of the federally controlled Population Welfare Programme to the provinces in the wake of the 18th Constitutional Amendment in 2010.This has provided Punjab with an opportunity to introduce a focused Population Policy specific to the province. The latter was especially essential as the rapidly urbanizing province of Punjab with a land mass of 25.6% of Pakistan, and housing 50% of the population of the country is currently estimated to have a population of over 100 million that would double in the next 34 years if the recent growth rate of 2.05% continues. Poverty conditions are being aggravated and consequently neutralizing the progress made in various sectors. Government of the Punjab recognizes the cross-cutting effect and influence of population factor on the overall development, hence imperative to adopt a focused Population Policy within the provincial development framework. The aim is to strike a balance between population and resources to be consistent with development goals.
The process for formulating Punjab Population Policy-2017 was initiated under the guidance of Begum Zakia Shahnawaz Minister for Population Welfare. Consultative meetings were held with all stakeholders, including Parliamentarians, representatives from Government Departments, Ulema, Media and NGOs/ development partners. A core group of 07 experts on population and demographic matters was identified and notified and their able advice was sought.
The Punjab Population Policy-2017 takes forward the following Vision, Goals and Objectives:
Promoting prosperous, healthy, educated and knowledge-based society where every family is planned, every member nurtured and all citizens are provided with the opportunity and choice to attain improvement in the quality of their lives.
- Stabilize population growth as an essential requirement for promoting sustainable development with equitable distribution through vigorous implementation of inter-sectoral strategies.
- Reduce fertility to contain population momentum by improving access to quality of reproductive health care through integrated service delivery.
- Facilitate and guide relevant sectors to achieve SDG objectives related to universal access to reproductive health care services aimed at promoting general welfare of population.
Short Term till 2020:
- Lower wanted family size to 2.5 by 2020 through an effective communication and education programme focusing on small family size and its relationship with human welfare and environmental security.
- Actively promote the three messages related to Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy (HTSP) to reach out all women by 2020.
- Ensure necessary contraceptive security at all service delivery outlets for 2015-20.
- Achieve a fertility level of 3.3 births per woman by 2020.
Long Term till 2030
- Ensure universal coverage and improve access to safe and quality family planning and reproductive health services to the most remote and far flung areas of the Province by 2025.
- Raise contraceptive prevalence rate to 60 per cent by 2030.
- Strive to attain replacement level fertility of 2.1 births by 2030.
The Policy document provides a framework for advancing goals and prioritizing strategies to meet reproductive and child health needs to achieve replacement fertility levels. This framework is based upon to address issues of contraception, child survival, and maternal health, while simultaneously increasing outreach and coverage of a package of reproductive, maternal and child health by all stakeholders. Population Welfare Department has been entrusted a leading role in promoting family planning and taking along all key stakeholders to support its goals and objectives as well as meeting critical targets.
The Policy adheres to four basic principles to achieve its goals: equity, efficiency, volunteerism, and sustainability. The following major areas requiring priority attention have been identified in the Policy document:
- Converging Service Availability at Community Level
- Attend couples with unmet need for contraception
- Supportive role of Government Departments and Development Partners, and
- Adhering to quality of services
- Contraceptive Commodity Security
- Advocacy, Demand Generation and Social Mobilization
- Human Resource Development
- Enlisting Support of NGOs/ development partners and private entities.
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Research and Metrics
- Attending Special Areas i.e. Men, Adolescent and Youth, and Infertility
- Departmental Restructuring
- Inter-Departmental Coordination for Consolidation of Services
- Funding Population Welfare Department
- Governance of Population and Development