Govt to take all stakeholders on board for sustainable population growth: Senator Zarqa.

ISLAMABAD -- The government is committed to take all stakeholders on board including religious leaders, media and young people to achieve sustainable population growth.

This was stated by Senator Dr. Zarqa Suhrawardi Taimur, Member Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination at a meeting organized by the Population Council to mark World Population Day with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The meeting was also attended by Senator Walid Iqbal, civil society representatives, reproductive health experts, members from the academia and the media. Every year, July 11 marks commemoration of World Population Day. This year's theme of World Population Day is 'Rights and choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritizing the reproductive health and rights of all people.' Speaking at the occasion, Senator Walid Iqbal said that the population issue is now being given due consideration and there was a cross party consensus on dealing with it. 'Seven million married couples in Pakistan want to space their families but are unable to do so due to lack of access to family planning services. Right to family planning is essential part of right to human dignity.'

He reiterated government's sustained efforts to raise awareness and reduce rapid population growth rate in the country to sustainable levels so that the well-being of all its citizens as guaranteed in the constitution can be ensured. He said that reproductive health rights are inextricably linked with human rights. Dr. Ali Mir, Senior Director Programmes, Population Council highlighted the importance of prioritizing reproductive health and rights of people in Pakistan. 'Provision of reproductive health and family planning services is essential especially during pandemics. Disruptions in supply of contraceptives in combination with lockdowns during the pandemic are predicted to result in a sharp rise in unplanned pregnancies, especially for the most vulnerable people in Pakistan. Safeguarding reproductive health rights and respective care in the times of crisis should be at the center of the policy to manage the impact of the pandemic,' he said. He stressed on the government's role in prioritizing the population agenda to lower fertility rates and focus on provision of rights-based, voluntary family planning information, choices and services to maintain a balance between...

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