Pakistan News

‘Investment in population programmes key to development’

‘Investment in population programmes key  to development’

ISLAMABAD: The World Population Day is being observed globally on Saturday and this year the theme is “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies”.

Moreover, population and environment experts believe that investment in population programmes is essential for the security, economic and social development of the country.

They also believe that the government has to spend on youth because it will become impossible for unskilled and uneducated youth to run the country in future.

According to the fact sheet of Population Council 2015 the population of the country is 188 million which is increasing by 1.9 per cent growth rate.

In Bangladesh, Iran, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, the growth rate is 1.3, 1.2, 1.2, 1.5 and 1 per cent respectively.

Bangladesh while being part of Pakistan was more populous area than West Pakistan but today the population of Bangladesh is 157 million. The data of council shows that in 2050 the population of Pakistan will be 363 million however the population of Bangladesh will be only 202 million in year 2050.

In Pakistan, 231 persons live in per square kilometer area whereas in Iran, Indonesia and Malaysia 46, 130 and 90 persons live in the same area.

Moreover, in Pakistan, infant mortality rate is 74 per 1,000 live births and maternal mortality rate is 276 per 100,000 live births. Data shows that the contraceptive prevalence rate is 35.4 per cent in Pakistan whereas in Bangladesh, Iran, Indonesia and India it is 61, 73, 62 and 54 per cent respectively.

The fact sheet also shows that around 14,000 mothers die every year from complications during childbirth; that translates into 39 women daily; one woman every 37 minutes.

Neonatal mortality (up to age of 28 days) has remained high and unchanging in the last few decades and child mortality rate is the 4th highest in the world.

It says that one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing maternal mortality is to increase contraceptive usage. Around 2.8 million unwanted or mistimed births can be averted each year with a strong family planning programme.

By using contraceptives, 100,000 infant lives can be saved yearly. Pakistan can get close to meet its Millennium Development Goal by reducing fertility by one child as currently total fertility rate is 3.8 per woman.

Director Programmes Population Council Dr Ali Mohammad Mir while talking to Dawn said that time has come to reshape the existing programme about population and revise the policies.

“Currently focus is to spread awareness of small families but now we should start talking that number of children should be according to resources of the family because those children who cannot get education, nutrition and good environment becomes burden on the country,” he said.

“Moreover steps should be taken to increase religious and socio cultural acceptability for the programmes of population welfare. We cannot serve our country by producing weak and unhealthy children,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2015

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