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Sindh’s population to double in 30 years, experts warn

Sindh’s population to double  in 30 years, experts warn

KARACHI: Experts at an awareness seminar on family planning on Wednesday said the population of Sindh would double by 2048 if it continued to swell at the current growth rate of 2.4 per cent, which would bring all sorts of new socio-economic challenges.

“With smaller growth rate we will still have a significant increase in the population but it would give us more young population that would help perk up the economy,” said Dr Tauseef Ahmed, an eminent expert on family planning issues while speaking at the seminar organised by the Centre for Communication Progra­mmes Pakistan under Sukh Initiative.

Organisers said the initiative was a project of Aman Healthcare Services.

Dr Ahmed said slower population growth created potential for increasing the pace of aggregate economic growth.

He said female education and empowerment, reduction in poverty, family planning, contraception, and social and cultural support to spacing in births and smaller families were the keys to manage the situation vis-à-vis population issues.

Regarding the international development targets given to Pakistan, Dr Ahmed said the country had not made desired progress.

He added that huge demand for family planning existed in the country, but large proportion of women did not use contraceptives and mothers continued to die due to preventable reasons. Besides, family planning services existed with several major stakeholders, but service availability was still quite limited.

He said Sindh’s maternal mortality ratio was much higher than national aggregates and was just lesser than Balochistan among the provinces.

However, regarding infant mortality rates Sindh was meeting the national aggregates. Its figures for neonatal deaths were a notch better than the national aggregates, while figures vis-à-vis infant deaths were equal to the country’s numbers.

He said many among Sindh’s 29 districts were ‘high-risk’ because of alarmingly high fertility rates and most mothers had four or more children.

He said large proportion of population in those districts were extremely poor constituting higher than normal number of pregnant women. Several Sindh districts had low contraceptive prevalence rate because of high demand for children.

Resultantly, said the family planning expert, “We should expect high rate of miscarriage and abortions”.

“Delayed pregnancy is desired by 41pc women. Women who did not want current pregnancy are 20pc. More than half of all women (54pc) reported experiencing one or more complications during last pregnancy.”

Atif Ikram added that more than half (54pc) of all unintended pregnancies in the country ended in induced abortion.

“Abortion has become a method of family planning,” he said, adding some 46 of all pregnancies in Pakistan were unintended. Of those pregnancies, he said, around 35pc resulted in births, while the remaining ended up with miscarriages.

On the contrary, 85pc of the intended pregnancies resulted in safe births and the remaining 15pc suffered miscarriages.

He said Pakistan was among the countries in South Asia and Latin America and Caribbean region where female ste­r­­il­isation formed the dominant method for family planning.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2017

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