Lack of family planning cause of multiple socio-economic problems in Pak: Experts

ANI30 October 2011

Karachi, Oct 30(ANI): The repercussions of the population boom in Pakistan have magnified into multiple socio-economic problems, from spiralling child and maternal mortality to rising inflation and the spread of terrorism, according to experts.

Shortly after its independence, Bangladesh's population was over 71 million people while Pakistan was home to around 62 million people. Thirty years later, Pakistan's population is nearly 30 million more than its eastern neighbour, The Express Tribune reports.

Pakistan is looking at a tidal wave of problems with a robust population and no contingency plans for their food, shelter, education or employment, the report said.y 2050, the situation will get worse as Pakistan's population is expected to surpass 300 million, it added.

If something is not done to rectify the situation soon, "the next wave will be a tsunami leading to huge social dislocation," according to Dana Hovig, the chief executive of Marie Stopes International.

"Leaders in many countries find scapegoats to deny responsibility," Hovig was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview during his brief stay in Karachi.

"In India the government took responsibility and focused on the issue, Pakistan needs to do the same," he pointed out.

Pakistan has a 25 per cent un-met need for family planning, which means over 10 million women in the country want to use contraceptives but do not have access to them.

As a result, women are unable to practice birth-spacing or giving adequate time between babies.

"If we just focus on meeting the demand of these women [who want to use contraceptives] our contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) will rise to 60%," said Dr Mohsina Bilgrami, the managing director of Marie Stopes Society in Pakistan.

But in order to achieve this CPR, even in the next 20 years, policy makers need to sit up and prioritise the issue now.

"Policies have not changed with time," Bilgrami said, "mainly because policy makers do not know what their people want...or need."

Health systems specialist Dr Babar T Shaikh pointed out that a huge chunk of Pakistan's population is unwanted. "These children have no education, receive no parental love, have no social status, low, if any, prospects of employment and will end up moving towards social evils and becoming huge burden on the economy," he added. (ANI)