Islamabad, November 19, 2014 (PPI-OT): Minister of State for National Health Services Regulation and Coordination Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar said that our government is cognizant of the enormity of the challenge posed by our rapidly growing population. We are fully committed to tackling this issue, as it is central to all endeavors that will make Pakistan a stable, prosperous and developed nation while addressing to Plenary Session of Ministerial Panel on Health, Population and Nutrition: Post Devolution Challenges here in Bahria University Islamabad.
She said our population has grown rapidly since our first Census in 1951. The population of Pakistan has grown more than six times since independence; today we are the sixth largest country in the world – and we are expected to become the fifth largest by the year 2050.
Minister said Pakistan is a nation of stark contrasts. This is more evident from the findings of the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey (PDHS) 2012-2013. Pakistan’s health indicators project a discouraging future for neonatal, infant and child, as well as maternal mortality. Fertility rates have shown improvement over the last two decades but the progress over the last decade has been slow.
Despite efforts being made to increase the use of contraceptives, this area has not exhibited progress. One in every 14 children in Pakistan dies before their first birthday while one in every 11 does not survive till five years of age. She said that let this be the our pledge today, in the private sector and in the public sector that we will create opportunities for employment for both young men and women, and also ensure they have the skills to match these jobs.
We clearly have to invest more in family planning programs and ensure that the financial arrangements are in place particularly to ensure that each of the provinces (especially the smaller ones) have sufficient funds to prioritize family planning services, She said. She said that the PML (N) government is fully committed to propel the country on to a path of prosperity and development, ensuring for our people the highest standard of living, the best quality of life in an environment of peace and stability, equal opportunity and justice.
Our vision of human development and peoples’ welfare takes guidance from the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). Nowhere else do we find such a tremendous emphasis on the rights of the women as an individual, as a mother, daughter and wife as that outlined in Islamic teachings, Minister said. At the end she said that Inshallah Pakistan will soon attain its rightful place in the comity of nations as a vibrant democracy with a growing economy and home to a healthy and prosperous population.
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