KARACHI            -      Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has decided to give status of essential services to the family planning & reproductive health by giving it legal cover.

This he said on Thursday while presiding over 3rd meeting of Sindh Taskforce on Population here at CM House, said a spokesperson to the CM Sindh.

The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Saeed Ghani, Nasir Shah, Shahla Raza, CM Adviser Aijaz Shah Shirazi, Secretary health, Focal Person PWD Dr. Talib Lashari, PPHI CEO Abdul Wahab Soomro, President SZABIST Ms Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Country Director Population Council Dr. Zeba Sathar, VC Malir University Dr Mehtab S. Karim, Representative of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Dr Yasmeen Qazi, Country Representative of UNFPA Ms. Lina Musa and others.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that Family Planning & Reproductive Health was the most important sector and must have the status of essential services so that they could continue their services unhindered even on odd days.

Therefore, he directed Health & Population Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho to prepare a legal framework for the purpose. He also directed Minister Health to write a letter to the concerned quarter to convene a Federal Taskforce on Population meeting to take initiatives as per CCI decisions. He added that the Sindh government would activate the lady health workers programme to implement family planning & reproductive health as was initiated by Shaheed Mohterma Benazir Bhutto during her second tenure.

The CM directed the population department to start family planning programme in slum areas of the major cities so that growth rate could be controlled. “We are giving priority to education so that sustainable behavioral change could be ensured in terms of population control,” he said and urged the Population Welfare department to achieve the target of reducing population growth rate from 2.4 percent to 2 percent during the next 10 year.     

Briefing the chief minister, Health & Population Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said that all vertical programs, including LHWs, MNCH, and Immunization have been integrated into health system by transferring them to the regular budget and placing them under Director General and District Health Officers.  She also added that they had contracted with partners to provide telehealth services to women and girls in communities.

The minister said that family planning services had been affected by 50 per cent due to COVID-19-related lockdowns. She said that as per guidelines, all reproductive health services (RHS) and family welfare centers (FWC) located in health facilities had been directed to remain open and provide services with safety measures. Beside it, the community workers like LHWs have been asked to stay in touch with their clients through WhatsApp groups.

Technical Adviser CIP/PWD and Focal Person FP2020 Dr Talib Lashari said that Sindh had achieved 634,928 additional users out of 986,260.

Governor for speedy work on underground cabling

A delegation of Cable Operators Association called on Governor of Sindh Imran Ismail at Governor House here on Thursday.

Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar and Member Provincial Assembly Jamal Siddiqui were also present on the occasion while the delegation was led by Association President Khalid Arain, said a spokesperson to the Governor.

They discussed issues related to cable operators, issues with K-Electric, steps of underground cabling, preparation of SOPs in this regard and other relevant issues of mutual interest.

The governor said that the agreement between the cable operators and K-Electric was welcomed and the most difficult issues could be resolved through dialogue. He said that everyone should give priority to the interest of the citizens of Karachi so that maximum facilities could be provided to them.

The governor said that cable operators had an important role to play in keeping the public informed and providing entertainment.

He directed that the pace of underground cabling with the NOC of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation should be expedited.

The mayor said that the awkward bunches wires were obstacles in the beautification of the city.

He said that in the larger interest of the city, he was ready to issue NOC for underground cabling work.

The delegation apprised the Governor of Sindh of the discussions with K-Electric and said that an agreement has been reached with K-Electric that the cables on the poles will not be cut while the cables on these poles will be gradually laid underground.

The delegation further said that in this regard work has been started by DHA and in the last 30 days 30 km cables have been laid underground.

The delegation said that they were also starting this work in the red zone while paving the roads dug for underground cabling.