KARACHI - A seminar on World Contraception Day was hosted by the Population Welfare Department (PWD) in collaboration with Health Policy Plus on Thursday.

It was attended by the Minister for Population Welfare, Honourable Mir Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani, Secretary Population Welfare Department Laeeq Ahmed and members of the Department of Health, individuals from NGOs INGO’s , private organizations and pharmaceutical companies.

Minister for Population Welfare Mir Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani stressed the need for family planning and its role in improving the well being of the country. He said that the commitment of the civil society is very important in achieving the FP2020 goals, as the government cannot achieve this task alone.

The minister said: “The issue of population growth is like an atom bomb, but Sindh is the only province that is working toward controlling this crisis, and has developed a Population Policy to this affect.’ NGOs and civil society are actively participating in achieving the FP2020 goals, and together outreach and awareness about family planning and population growth needs to be increased to rural areas.”

PWD Secretary Laeeq Ahmed said that it is critical to link family planning and development and show other development sectors that investing in family planning is investing in achieving the sustainable development goals.

Furthermore, he highlighted the need to work with the rural population and educate them about the importance of family planning. He said it was challenge to convince doctors to give services in rural areas, because they prefer to remain in urban areas. However, the Population Welfare Department is working actively to increase coverage, and is also reaching out influential members in communities to encourage family planning.

The event consisted multiple presentations and an interactive discussion where the audience came together to discuss critical issues around family planning and development. The program started off with a presentation by Syed Ashfaq Ali Shah on ‘Contraception- Journey Through The Years’ which showcased a history of contraception, and the earliest forms of contraceptive methods.

This presentation was followed a presentation by Dr Mehwish Mubarik, Assistant Director PWD on the ‘Reproductive Health Needs of Adolescents and Youth’ which discussed the importance of contraception services for youth.

The two presentations were followed by a video by HP+ on the positive impact an increased use of family planning will have on the development sector. The video showed the impact of increased the contraceptive prevalence rate on the education, health, agriculture and labour departments, and how slowing down population growth will ease the strain on Sindh’s resources. The video was followed by a presentation on the ‘reasons to Invest in Family Planning: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’, which highlighted the link between family planning and development and stressed the importance of investing in family planning to improve health, educational opportunities, the environment, the economy, and overall peace and prosperity.

After the presentations, an interactive discussion on ‘Translating Policy into Practice’ moderated by Dr Azra Ahsan, took place.

Multiple topics were discussed, including the role of religious leaders in family planning, and the need to involve them in educating the population about religious perspectives on contraception, the implementation of the Population Policy and the steps that are being taken to turn policy into practice.