ISLAMABAD  -    The United Kingdom Thursday said it was committed to help Pakistan to control the population growth rate.

To mark the World Population Day 2019, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, the British High Commission and the United Nations Population Fund organized a high-level event here.

The UK – through its Department for International Development – leads the UK’s global efforts to control population growth rate, extreme poverty and malnutrition.  Through its Delivering Accelerated Family Planning Programme, DFID, is making family planning information and services accessible to those in need in Pakistan. Since 2012, the UK support has reached over 1.7 million new family planning users and prevented 4,900 maternal deaths, over 3.49 million unwanted pregnancies, and 490,000 abortions. By March 2022, our programme aims to achieve 550,000 modern contraception users. Speaking at the event, Deputy Head of DFID Pakistan Kemi Williams said: “Rapid population growth is a major challenge for many countries across the world, including Pakistan and the situation is likely to get worse if urgent action is not taken. The UK is committed to support Pakistan’s plans to manage its population growth.” DFID Pakistan, through its Delivering Accelerated Family Planning programme is making family planning services accessible to men and women across the country, Williams said.

“I believe that every woman should have access to family planning services so that she is empowered to plan her life, be healthy, have healthy children and contribute to the economic growth of Pakistan,” the DFID head said. Dr. Zafar Mirza, Federal Minister of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, said: “Population is a great asset, but at the same time if we don’t utilize its potential properly, it can become a liability.” Sharing her remarks, Lina Mousa, UNFPA Representative said: “Pakistan has some of the greatest demographic opportunities for development in the world as a growing youth population enters adulthood.

The demographic dividend can only be achieved with adequate investments in the education and skills of youth, harvesting the fruits of long-term human capital development.