Government urged to involve family physicians, pharmacies to improve access to family planning services

Islamabad-Civil Society Organizations’ Population Coalition urged the federal and provincial governments to involve family physicians and pharmacies to improve access to contraceptives and family planning services. Meeting of the Coalition was organized by the Population Council with the support of UNFPA here in Islamabad on Friday. 
In his welcome remarks, Dr Ali Mir, Senior Director Programs, Population Council said that National Action Plan on Population Management clearly stipulates a role of private sector and pharmacies in family planning service provision to enhance universal access to family planning services. 
“CSOs can play their role in supporting and encouraging governments to harness the private sector across the country to remove hurdles in provision of family planning services,” he added. Explaining Population Council’s experience on engaging male family physicians and pharmacies to expand family planning services in rural communities, Samia Ali Shah Project Director Population Council, said, “Service delivery through male family physicians stimulates male engagement in crucial decision of birth spacing in a family as well as in the society.” 
She observed that low uptake of contraceptives is a major contributor to Pakistan’s high maternal, child, and infant mortality. One in seven women are undernourished, 42% of women of reproductive age are anemic, while 27% and 21% are deficient in vitamin A and zinc, respectively,” she added. Dr Saima Zubair Senior Vice President, Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians said that engaging the private sector in family planning service delivery could rapidly enhance access to services and reduce unmet need. CSOs Coalition emphasized that targeted initiatives must be taken by the government to meet the unmet need among the poorer women. 
They also called on provincial governments to ensure the supply of contraceptives and greater involvement of the private sector in family planning service provision. About the CSOs Population Coalition: CSOs Population Coalition was established in 2021 to jointly advocate for sustainable population growth in Pakistan. It’s a network of 22 NGOs, think tanks and professional networks committed to gauge government’s progress on implementation of the 2018 CCI decisions to improve family planning programs in Pakistan.

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