ISLAMABAD- With scarce resources and untrained LHW the government of Balochistan plans to increase population without much concerns to the life of a mother and child. The provincial government’s new population plan encourages couples to have 3 or even 4 children.
The plan would actively discourage couples from availing contraceptive and family planning services, while no efforts are being made to improve existing healthcare facilities for the living.
The provincial government was not willing to link family planning with the Maternal Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Program.
The provincial government focus is to boost the fertility rate in Balochistan so that they can increase the population while little consideration to the fact that the province presently has the worst indicators on maternal and infant mortality in the country.
According to data, it is estimated that 700 to 900 mothers per 100,000 lose their lives during pregnancy in Balochistan, compared to 272 in other parts of the country. Apregnant woman is three times more likely to die in Balochistan than the rest of the country.Similarly, “Neonatal mortality in the province is 72 per 1,000 live births, compared to 54 in the rest of country, which is also a cause for concern.
Use of modern contraceptive methods of family planning advice is negligible in the province with lack of political will, low budgetary allocations and poor healthcare infrastructure are the major reasons behind high maternal and infant mortality rates in the province. They need to be addressed on an emergency basis.
Given the state of healthcare in Balochistan, the more a woman gives birth, the more she puts her life at stake. Women from remote areas of the province die while being transported to urban healthcare facilities across broken roads in tractor trolleys or even bull carts.
With regards to Family Planning services most rural women are not aware of the service or any reliable contraceptive methods, it’s time that the government should provide FP service centres and ensure that the existing facilities have trained staff to counsel couples.