Pakistan tries again to slow growing numbers

Posted: 22 March 2004

The Pakistan Government has unveiled a new six-year plan which aims to reduce the population growth rate from 2.1 per cent to 1.8 per cent. It also hopes to reduce infant mortality and increase rural health capabilities by 70 per cent

Over $11 million dollars has been allocated to begin the project, which will include building more health care facilities in rural areas, public awareness campaigns and training seminars for clinicians on reproductive health issues.

According to Women's ENews, the percentage of Pakistanis using contraception has increased from 14 per cent ten years ago to 23 per cent in 2004. However, the country's young population has continued to grow fast, rising from 149 million in 2001 from 84 million in 1981. At this rate, the population would double in 33 years.

The need for improvemens in the status and education of women in Pakistan is critical, as is the need for better reproductie health care. Recent estimates indicate that one woman in 38 dies during pregnancy or childbirth in Pakistan, compared with a regional average of 1 in 230. One in 2,400 women dies during pregnancy or childbirth in Europe.

Approximately 70 per cent of Pakistan's population live in rural areas, making access to contraception sporadic, and frequently women are unable to access contraception in a confidential environment. Sterilization remains the most common method of contraception.

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