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Zafar calls for efforts to address overpopulation.

ISLAMABAD -- Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Thursday said that the government was committed to integrating family planning services into the health system to make it easily available and accessible.

Addressing a seminar held in connection with World Population Day, the SAPM asked civil society organizations and the private sector to partner with the government in improving the quality of life of future generations and ensuring social uplift.

He said that the government was providing family planning services as envisaged in the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) - Plan of action.

He added that the population programme in Pakistan was progressing towards demographic targets in collaboration with its partners from both the public and private sector.

The government was according highest level priority to population issue and deploying efforts to reduce population growth rate for the good health of mothers, children and families and the prosperity of the country.

The SAPM added that World Population Day is also observed in Pakistan to highlight the significance of addressing various dimensions of population to help Pakistan embark on a path of socioeconomic progress and prosperity.

He said that today Pakistan with a population of over 207 million is one of the most populous countries of the world and it has an alarmingly high annual population growth rate of 2.4% that is devouring the country's resources.

The population growth dilemma

He said that the slow progress made by Pakistan in decelerating fertility rate, mortality rates of mothers and children and improving contraceptive prevalence rate is clear evidence that these challenges continue to confront Pakistan today.

Dr Mirza further said that family planning is being addressed by the government as a priority issue. 'We are placing emphasis on reducing infant, child and maternal mortality rates that will prevent the deaths of about a million or more children under five years of age.

He said that this year the theme for World Population day is '25 years of the ICPD: accelerating the promise' in reference to the summit of world leaders on population being held in November this year in Nairobi.

The summit would take stock of the progress made by 179 countries adopted Plan of Action of International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), he added.

He said that it is high time to create awareness among the masses on population and development issues and enhanced cooperation of all segments of society in the government's endeavor to achieve the goal of replacement level fertility.

He assured full commitment of the government to the cause of population and development and urged all members of society to join hands to effect change. He also assured that reproductive health and family planning services would be provided across the country.

He said that the prime minister will chair a meeting of the federal task force on the alarmingly high population growth rate to be participated by all the chief ministers and the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) prime minister.

The meeting will take major decisions that will have a far reaching impact in addressing the population issue.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said 'We need to recognise that immediate and sustained attention and concerted efforts by all segments of society is the best way to address the challenge of population growth on a war footing.' She said that there is a strong and unflinching political commitment to address these challenges and allocating adequate resources to achieve the desired targets.

She assured that the government will accelerate its efforts to complete its agenda and achieve its goals and targets.
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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jul 13, 2019
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