Boosting Family Planning Access in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan—In late November 2016, Health Policy Plus (HP+) Pakistan staff members joined Sindh province’s Population Welfare Department, provincial ministers, and other stakeholders at the “Population Association of Pakistan’s 17th Annual Conference on Investing in Family Planning.” The conference focused on the first six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, and clean water and sanitation—and encouraged participants to share evidence and advocate for increased support and funding for family planning programs in order to meet them.

Health Policy Plus’ work guided conversation across the conference. A series of HP+ briefs and infographics detailing how investments in family planning can help achieve the SDGs and Pakistan’s development goals were included in the conference welcome packets (distributed to an estimated 400 family planning stakeholders) and ministers of education, planning and development, and food security drew content from recently published HP+ report to inform their remarks at the event. Speaking to conference participants, Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, chair of the Oversight and Coordination Cell on Family Planning and Public Health Programmes said, “We must address adolescents in our education system and give them knowledge about sexual and reproductive health, and the options of informed parenthood.” Shortly after the conference, HP+ supported the Sindh Population Welfare Department in hosting a data-sharing and validation workshop for population-related data, strengthening the department’s multi-sectoral approach to family planning programming, and providing policy modeling data to demonstrate the link between population and development. Dr. Ashfaq Ali Shah, director of monitoring, evaluation and planning at Sindh’s Population Welfare Department acknowledged HP+’s coordinating role saying“For the first time all the different departments are sitting here together in the same room to discuss the population issues affecting Sindh.”