MIRPUR (AJK)-The largely-attended seminar titled “Human Rights Based Approach (HRB) in Family Planning” concluded with recommendations for exercising an integrated and vibrant population planning program across the country including AJK to combat growing challenges caused by the rapid population growth.

The grand event was hosted by Azad Jammu and Kashmir Population Welfare Department, with the support of UNFPA and Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination for the capacity building of healthcare providers in the AJK.

On the occasion, AJK Population Welfare Secretary Raja Muhammad Razzaque emphasized upon the participants to show passion and commitment to provide relief to the community and rationalizing the population growth through effective implementation of the population welfare program in AJK.

He specifically mentioned the salient features of suo moto human right case of Supreme Court of Pakistan against rapid population growth in the country.

He emphasized the need for functional integration of family planning services between Health and Population departments and urged to redefine the role of population welfare departments. He while highlighting the complexities of procurement of contraceptives through international biddings suggested that the federal government may come in aid of regional governments for pool procurement to ensure economy of scale besides guarantying contraceptive commodity security in country.

Similarly, he strongly advocated for elimination of gender based violence and supported women empowerment for family planning and social development.

Earlier, Dr Mustafa Bashir Abbasi, AJK Minister for Population, TEVTA and Information Technology underlined rapid population growth as biggest challenge and urged the healthcare providers in AJK to focus their duties with religious approach to improve service delivery to benefit the common man.

He emphasized for engaging the parents while focusing on their health due to anaemia-a condition in which there is a deficiency of red cells or haemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness-most of women can lead to various complication in case they conceive pregnancy.

The minister persuasively argued for linking family planning with health status of women which can easily convince them for adopting family planning measures. He said family planning is not a concession rather a right of married couples as such State under the law, is bound to provide fair access to the parents for family planning enabling them to responsibly decide the spacing and size of their family in view of their resources.

Ms. Midhat Shehzad, Secretary Information, Tourism & IT while taking reference from the Holy Quran, - “And mothers [should] breastfeed their children for a total of two years - urged upon mothers to feed their kids for two years and this approach will not only bless us healthy generation rather will add into the fair process of natural family planning.

Participants expressed their satisfaction over paradigm shift viz; dealing family planning with human right approach and opined that similar sessions for capacity building of healthcare providers will not only raise the confidence of the professionals rather will also help improving the service delivery in effective manner.