Minister calls for urgent action to Protect Family Health

August 27, 2015

Minister of State National Health Services, Regulation & Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar said that present Government considers population welfare programme a priority agenda. The Manifesto of Pakistan Muslim League (N) highlights “Population” as a core issue. She was addressing on occasion of National seminar on Population Family Welfare, today in Islamabad.
She said population situation in Pakistan is alarming. Pakistan’s current population is estimated at 191 million. The population growth rate is 1.92 annually. This means a net annual addition of 3.5 million persons in the existing population. This scenario presents a daunting challenge to national efforts of economic development and poverty reduction. Addition of such a magnitude in the backdrop of low socio-economic indicators not only dilutes the results of the developmental efforts but also exerts an unbearable pressure of demand on limited resources to meet the requirements of additional population.
She further said It is estimated that, population of Pakistan will reach 210 million by the year 2020. Based on present growth patterns and trends, the country will find it difficult to  sustain the rapidly growing population, and hardly any improvement in the quality of life seems to be possible even under the most favorable assumptions. This trend is, therefore, a matter of deep national concern and becomes a central issue in the overall planning perspective as well as poverty reduction strategy.
Minister said population situation in Pakistan cannot be improved without a comprehensive program and strong political commitment. Fortunately, the present Government has clear manifesto and it has already taken a bold step of announcing Population census for 2016.
Saira Afzal Tarar said After 18th Constitutional Amendment, the subject of Population Planning has been transferred to the Provincial Governments. The Population Welfare Programmes are now being implemented by the respective Provinces. The Provinces have framed their own Population Policies/Strategies. Major activities relating to Population Welfare Programme including Advocacy, Supply of Reproductive Health Services, Technical and Managerial Training through Regional Training Institutes and Population Welfare Training Institutes, and Monitoring and Evaluation, are carried out by the Provincial Population Welfare Departments. However, the Federal government continues to provide financial support to Provincial Population programs at the level it was providing at the time of devolution.
She further said role of the Federal Ministry of National Health Services now remains limited to National Policy Framework, research & Advocacy, Inter-Provincial Coordination and International Interface. The fulfillment of international commitments viz-a-viz MDGs, SDGs, FP2020 and other International agreements like ICPD Programme of Action made at UN Forums remains the responsibility of the Government.