Population explosion is one of the greatest problems Pakistan is facing these days and it has its impact on everything not only the provision of essential services like health and education but is also linked with increase in criminal activities, law and order situation. According to reports a very meager percentage of the married couples practice any contraceptive method and our fertility rate has increased too much.
It was unfortunate that the Family Planning was separated from Health Department. In fact every healthcare facility should be offering family planning services so that it is accessible to everyone who wishes to seek help and advice. The Government of Pakistan has recently taken some measures and initiated a campaign in the mass media highlighting the importance of Birth Spacing. To convey this message services of religious scholars and other distinguished personalities are being used. In fact such an initiative should have been taken long time ago. Bangladesh used the services of religious scholars and successfully not only controlled but reduced its fertility rate. At present their total population is much less as compared to Pakistan though in 1971, the then East Pakistan had more population as compared to the then West Pakistan.
Our neighboring country Iran has also successfully used the services of religious scholars and succeeded in checking the dreaded disease of Thalassemia. Now every couple before getting married has to undergo screening test and this has checked the birth of new children with thalassemia. People has lot of faith and confidence in religious leaders hence they can contribute a lot. Checking the population growth is not only the responsibility of government but the society as a whole in which each one of us in different segments of the society have to contribute. The authorities should take a step further and involve Pesh Imams of mosques all over the country. First they should be properly briefed and then they should be requested to highlight the importance of population planning, birth spacing, and immunization of children against communicable diseases which will also reduce the infant and maternal mortality to a great extent. At the same time, all efforts should be made to promote preventive measures, increase immunization of children against all communicable diseases. Improving functioning of the Basic Health Units, Rural Health Centers, establishing a mechanism of proper monitoring and accountability, introducing a referral system from Tehsil and District Headquarters Hospital to the tertiary care teaching hospitals also need to be accomplished. These are some of the steps if taken can also improve the functioning and service at tertiary care hospitals when they will be required to entertain referred cases which require specialized care.
Economic development is considered the best contraceptive. We are fortunate that the economic policies of the present Government has accelerated development work. Work on CPEC is in full swing and all this is playing a vital role in the economic revival in the country. One hopes its fruits will reach to the population at large and we should expect better days ahead.
Tail-Piece: Failure is the Highway to Success.