Economic Development has proved to be the Best and most Effective contraceptive


 Defusing the Population Explosion Bomb

Economic Development has proved to be
 Best and most Effective contraceptive

Strengthening basic health services, basic education in
rural areas & urban slums will not only reduce poverty
but also ensure healthy productive population

ISLAMABAD: One of the most important problems which the country is facing is the population explosion. With the present population growth, we cannot cope with providing even primary healthcare and primary education to the entire population with limited resources at our disposal. Increasing population puts further pressure and burden on the existing healthcare facilities, education facilities and social services. The rush of patients witnessed at the tertiary healthcare facilities, teaching hospitals and other healthcare facilities affiliated with medical universities, over worked and overburdened healthcare professionals then eventually leads to more medical errors, violence by the patients and their attendants against the healthcare professionals and marked reduction in patient satisfaction level. Patient safety is also compromised under these circumstances.

The authorities over the years have been spending huge amounts on programmes like family planning or sometimes renamed as population control, population social welfare and so on but time has proved that economic development remains the best and most effective contraceptive. Poverty reduction remains the key and it cannot be achieved unless we improve the basic health services in the rural areas and urban slums, introduce some referral system linking the basic health units to Rural Health Centers, Tehsil and District Hospitals with tertiary care facilities, improve and expand basic education facilities and all this should be specially target at the rural areas as well as urban slums. In addition accelerating efforts to promote preventive services, improve vaccination and immunization, nutrition to children and pregnant mothers, improving maternal and child health services should get special attention. Improving road safety, public transport system and environment is also important. All this needs a multipronged approach wherein it is not only the government but the healthcare professionals, society at large which have to contribute its share to realize the dream of a Healthy Nation. All these measures will also go a long way in improving our health indicators in every respect may it be the infant mortality, maternal mortality, under five child mortality etc.?

Currently it is estimated that about 3.4 billion people which is almost half of the world population lives in poverty which means living on less than two US$ per day. Over the years some efforts were made and it has resulted in rich dividends. In 1990 almost 36% of the world population lived in extreme poverty and by 2015 it has reduced to just 10%, though the dramatic improvement seen in the developed and middle income countries was not seen in the developing world. Poor health not only affects the capacity to earn income but it also substantially increases the house hold spending. Particularly out of pocket expenditures on health care further drives these families to poverty.

The previous government had done well to spend lot of funding on improving the basic infrastructure building a network of roads all over the country, the provincial government of Punjab in particular has done well. The road network connecting the villages and small towns with major cities has enabled people to move quickly. With the improved quality of roads, the transport system has also improved. The produce is being transported quickly and easily to the cities from the villages and it has also accelerated the economic development in the small towns and cities. Remarkable improvement was witnessed in the Pakistan Railways and start of Metro Bus Service in major cities in Punjab came as a great sigh of relief for the daily commuters. Now we can also see even major private educational institutions setting up their chain of schools and colleges throughout the province in Punjab in particular. While some politicians are in the habit of criticizing the Sharif’s, but they have contributed a great deal in the economic development of the country. You just close the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway or Lahore-Islamabad Motorway for two weeks and see the result. When Lahore-Islamabad Motorway was being built, Mian Nawaz Sharif got lot of bad publicity in the media but now everyone has realized its importance. People prefer to travel between Lahore-Islamabad by road through Motorway rather than by Air.

After the 18th constitutional amendment, Health and Education has become the responsibility of the provincial governments. Hence, now they have no excuse but to deliver. While the corrupt politicians give jobs and employment to their cronies and please their voters, politicians with foresight and competence come up with development projects which not only creates lot of job opportunities but also provide opportunities to educated youth to start their own business and thus play their role in the development of the country. The government needs to invest in health and education of the children great deal. Any investment made today will result in economic returns in future when these children grow up healthier, better educated and prove to be more productive adults. Let us remember, investment in human capital is very critical for long term growth and development. We all need to join hands in improving the socioeconomic status of the people who still belong to the under privileged class rather than expecting the Government of the day to do everything.

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