Population surge major cause of poverty, say experts


KARACHI: Health experts on Tuesday said that increasing population of Pakistan is the root cause of poverty, illiteracy, poor health and violence in society.

This was stated by experts on the occasion to commemorate the International Contraception Day in which academics representing Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU), Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), College of Family Physicians, SOGP, PPHI, Nutrition International, PNFWH, JHPIEGO, OBGYN community of public and private hospitals and PWD were met for a press conference to highlight issues related to failure of family planning in Pakistan.

Dr Sadqa Jaffery, Dr Nusrat Shah, Dr Azra Ahsan, Dr Riaz Memon, Mufti Faisal Japan Wala, Dr Shershah Syed, Dr Nighat Shah and PMA Karachi General Secretary Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro spoke at the press conference held at PMA House here.

They said that Pakistan cannot sustain this huge growth in population which is a strain on all our resources. Even clean air and water have become luxuries, they iterated, adding that the family planning issue should be addressed for a better future.

Leading gynaecologist Dr Sadqa Jaffery said our problems of poverty, illiteracy and poor health have a high population as the root cause. The increasing population is responsible for increasing violence in the society.

She said, “We have failed to provide good education to children specially girl child. Our children are suffering from stunting growth and are suffering from blindness from a very early age, due to malnutrition. Because of the increased population, our maternal mortality and morbidity rates are very high.”

Senior Gynecologist Dr Shershah Syed said whereas in the sixties we were the first country to initiate family planning today we are far behind from our neighbours Iran (70%), India 58% and Bangladesh 60%. Pakistan contraception prevalence is merely around 30% (dismal findings of PDHS 2017-18).

He said better family planning does not only mean reducing family size but decrease in abortions, healthy mother and child and more access to food, water, air, education and health.

Dr Shershah said women are resorting to abortion as a way of family planning and playing with their lives, this shows that the health care providers and policymakers have failed somewhere.

Experts urged the government, professional bodies, civil societies, religious leaders and international agencies come to gather and help government and people to have a plan for organized family planning programme. We must start a dialogue on issues related to family planning.