- Thursday | 25 Nov, 1993
- Policy Briefs/Papers
With rising needs of family planning especially in urban slums and rural areas, the population programme count not maintain an efficient service structure to provide adequate coverage of family planning services to the people. It could hardly cover less than 50 percent of urban 5 percent of rural eligible population by early 1980s still leaving a segment of eligible population with an unmet need for family planning services to curtail their reproductivity. The expansion in the national programme was restrained due to tremendous financial shortfalls in late 1970s and early 1980s besides the shift in its approach to a functional integration of social services especially of maternal and child health with family planning. The inability of the programme with its supply oriented approach to enhance contraceptive use and bring a significant decline in family size marked the underlying need to seek an efficient and an alternate approach to tackle the ever growing population pressure. Family planning and health services were available through a large number of outlets maintained by non-governmental organisations all over Pakistan. The strength of the population NGOs in Pakistan can be gauged by the fact that they maintained their activities even during the period (1978-1981) when the federal government had toned down the population programme field services. Recognising the potential of enhancing the coverage and the cause of family planning, the government sought the involvement of non-governmental organisations in increasing contraceptive services, popularising small family norm, and reducing fertility level through adopting innovative approaches.
The NGOs related with population issue existed in Pakistan since 1953, had been functioning independently and in collaboration with the government to strengthen the small family norm, increase awareness about population issue and enhance family planning services. NGOs main contribution has been the evolvement of replicable service models and the development of communication programmes on experimental basis. The service outlet model (Family Welfare Centres) tried by the NGOs and its adoption by the government programme is an evidence of the pioneering role of NGOs in Pakistan. The innovativeness of NGOs today encompass broadening of scope of work in areas like male responsibility, integration of family planning in development efforts, community participation, women empowerment, reproductive rights, etc. has placed much greater responsibility in bringing real social change in Pakistan. The magnitude of work is such that tremendous collaboration with government and among NGOs would ensure its sustainability and possible replication in the future. Most collaborations in the past has been piecemeal and needed consolidation.