Islamabad - Saira Afzal Tarar, minister of state for national health services, regulation & coordination, Wednesday said that the government was cognizant of the enormity of the challenge posed by the rapidly growing population.
“We are fully committed to tackling this issue, as it is central to all endeavours that will make Pakistan a stable, prosperous and developed nation,” she said while addressing ‘Plenary Session of Ministerial Panel on Health, Population and Nutrition: Post Devolution Challenges’ here at Bahria University.
She said the population had grown rapidly since the first census in 1951. It had grown more than six times since independence and today Pakistan was the sixth largest country in the world and expected to become the fifth largest by the year 2050, she added.
Saira Tarar said Pakistan was a nation of stark contrasts. This was more evident from the findings of the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey (PDHS) 2012-2013. Pakistan’s health indicators projected a discouraging future for neonatal, infant and child, as well as maternal mortality.
She said fertility rates had shown improvement over the last two decades but the progress over the last decade had been slow.
Despite efforts being made to increase the use of contraceptives, this area had not exhibited progress. One in every 14 children in Pakistan died before their first birthday while one in every 11 did not survive till five years of age.
She said, “Let this be the our pledge today, in the private sector and in the public sector we will create opportunities for employment for both young men and women, and also ensure they have the skills to match these jobs.”
“We clearly have to invest more in family planning programs and ensure that the financial arrangements are in place particularly to ensure that each of the provinces (especially the smaller ones) have sufficient funds to prioritize family planning services,” she added. She said that the PML-N government was fully committed to propel the country on to a path of prosperity and development, ensuring the highest standard of living, the best quality of life in an environment of peace and stability, and equal opportunity and justice for the people.
“Our vision of human development and people’s welfare takes guidance from the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet (PBUH).
Nowhere else do we find such a tremendous emphasis on the rights of the women as an individual, as a mother, daughter and wife as that outlined in Islamic teachings,” she stressed.
She said that Pakistan would soon attain its rightful place in the comity of nations as a vibrant democracy with a growing economy and home to a healthy and prosperous population.