By Our Staff Reporter
KARACHI – Terming rising population a `major universal issue’, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Sindh Assembly Member, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, said that Pakistan is also among those countries where population was increasing rapidly.
He was speaking at the launching ceremony of “Sukh Initiative Baseline Assessment Fact Sheet-2015” held at a local hotel under the auspices of Aman Health Foundation. Sindh Assembly MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, Ahmed Jalal et al. also spoke on the occasion.
Emphasizing the need for educating women about family planning, Nasir Shah said that efforts should also be made to achieve decline in mortality rate of maternal and neonatal.
MPA Nusrat Sehar Abbasi was of the opinion that the need of the hour is to change the mindset of society by creating awareness among girls about family planning.
Stressing the need for spreading the Sukh initiatives across Sindh, she said that family planning education should begin from educational institutions.
Earlier, Sukh Baseline Report, prepared by the Aga Khan University, was presented on the occasion.
Participants of the event were informed that the major goal of Sukh initiatives is to increase modern contraceptive use by 15 percentage points among married women in four towns of Karachi – Bin Qasim, Korangi, Landhi and Malir -, covering a population of one million with a focus on low-parity married couples.
In the context of Pakistan, this will translate in improving maternal health by reducing unintended pregnancies through the provision and use of family planning services.
The salient features of the Sukh Baseline Report is as follows:
For the household survey component of the report, a total of 5,340 married women in the reproductive age group of 15-49 years were interviewed, however the data was analyzed for responses of 5,140 questionnaires. For qualitative assessment, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were conducted.
OUTCOME: The findings of the research identified the existence of teenage marriages and pregnancies with four (4) per cent of married women of reproductive age (MWRAs) in the sample population falling in the age group bracket of 15-19. Of the women pregnant at the time of interview, almost a quarter of them reported their current pregnancy was unplanned. These women were found to be at increased risk due to unsafe abortions, the report pointed out.
The data showed that although knowledge of modern contraceptives was high, but their usage was low. The wide difference in proportion of ever user (69pc) and current users (42pc) suggested high discontinuation rate of contraceptive use (27percentage points).
Around 46pc of all women, who started family planning, but discontinued later, were in the age group of 20-29 years. More than 60pc of discontinued users had not schooling or primary level education. Besides, 57.4pc of all discontinued users had parity between one of three children.
These results also indicated that there was a large gap in the family planning-related demand, supply and in provision of quality services. Women were generally using less effective contraceptive methods, with contraceptive prevalence rate of modern method being low.
The solution levers of Sukh initiatives aimed at addressing many of these gaps, especially through door-to-door services, tele-health services and enhancing availability and quality family planning services.