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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Feb 21, 2014

Strain on resources: Practical measure urged to control population growth

Speakers have urged the government to take practical
steps to control the growing population, which is putting a great strain
on economy and resources.

They were speaking at a seminar titled “Demography and Health Survey
of Pakistan” jointly organised by the Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI) and the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS)
here on Thursday.

Speakers urged stakeholders and healthcare providers to take the
issue seriously, otherwise it will wreak havoc in the future. They also
expressed serious concern over indicators of child mortality and
fertility rates, alarming and highest in the region.

NIPS Project Director Tanveer Kiyani gave a presentation on PDHS
2012-13 survey that provides data for monitoring the population and the
health situation in Pakistan with an explicit goal of providing reliable
information about maternal and child health and family planning.

NIPS Executive Director Abdul Basit Khan said, “In Pakistan, high
population growth is a huge threat to food security.” He said that the
growing population was a vast subject and the government should decide
what it has to do to tackle it within the limited resources.

Khan said that in Pakistan, lack of education, financial constraints
and poor implementation of plans were the root causes for the growing
population and a major challenge in ensuring access to quality health

“The government is spending a major chunk of its financial resources
fighting the war on terrorism, religious extremism, and overcoming
destruction caused by natural calamities while ignoring health and
education,” he said.

He said that after the devolution of the ministry of health under the
18th Amendment, none of the province has finalised a policy on health
and population.

Khan said that the NIPS was planning a regional conference in May to
discuss and learn lessons from other South Asia countries as how they
managed to achieve MDGs in the health sector.

NIPS researcher Zafar Zahir said that the PDHS 2012-13 was more credible as it was carried out in a more professional manner.

Basit Khan said that NIPS has sent a proposal to the United Nations
Population Fund (UNFA) seeking its support in carrying out an in-depth
analysis of the survey.

Later, the SDPI and the NIPS signed a memorandum of understanding
aimed at strengthening institutional networking and support, enhancing
institutional capacities and extending outreach.