Pakistan’s population has
increased from 40.4 million in 1955 to 200.8 million by 2018, resulting from
high population growth rate in last sixty years. In 1960, the government of
Pakistan launched the population welfare program in order to seize the
increasing growth rate of population, however it did not see substantial
progress, due to inconsistent policies. Despite being one of the first countries
in South-Asia to make a commitment to fertility reduction as national planning
objective, Pakistan’s family planning has a long unsuccessful history. Food for
thought is that why contraception use is so low in Pakistan?
In Pakistan society the role of husbands in household and reproductive
decision-making is significant and women often mention their husband’s
disapproval of family planning as one of the reasons for non-use of
contraception. Such culture exists because husband is traditionally less
concerned about the social companionship with his wife and more towards her
ability to bear him sons who would then carry on the family name, thus birth of
sons ensure her position in the family.
Access remains a pervasive problem in most developing societies, and Pakistan is
no exception. Large segments of the population, concentrated in rural areas,
face considerable difficulty in obtaining low-cost, high quality family planning
services. The shortage of family planning service outlets is especially severe
in rural areas of Pakistan, where the greatest majority of the population lives
(63% in 2010), due to which women remain unaware of the methods available,
supplies of these methods, their cost and most importantly their usage.
Most common reason given for not using a contraceptive is religious concerns. It
is argued that religious beliefs in Pakistan are not favorable to the practice
of family planning and add to a lack of self-efficacy in limiting family size.
Women perceive that the use of contraceptive might provoke divine disapproval
therefore they refrain from using contraceptive measures.
So, what are we doing in order to facilitate women around the country? Probably
the answer is “nothing”, because we are all set to invest our resources in
beautification of one part of the country by developing state-of-the-art
transportation system, but we are not investing in educating women on family
planning. There is a high need to focus on providing accessible and high quality
services on reaching couples to convince them through motivational campaigns. As
husbands play an important role in their wives reproductive choice, they should
be the one educated on health concerns, so that they can recognize the
importance of contraception and refrain from associating it with religious
beliefs.It could be rightly said “in order to influence the fertility behavior
of Muslims, attention should be focused on changing attitudes towards fertility
and family planning”