Under the MoU, Population Welfare Dept. will make available commodities and technical support to Thar Foundation for family planning services
By GR Junejo
Islamkot: Sindh’s Tharparkar district, lowest in terms of human development indicators in the country, is one of the areas of Pakistan where the teenage pregnancy rate is recorded alarmingly high at 59 percent.
This was revealed during MoU signing ceremony aimed at improving family planning service in District Tharparkar on Tuesday.
The MoU was signed between the Population Welfare Department (PWD), the Government of Sindh (GoS), and Thar Foundation, the CSR arm of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC). Rehan Baloch, Director General, PWD, and Naseer Memon, General Manager Thar Foundation signed the agreement on behalf of their organizations.
Provincial Minister for Health, Dr. Azra Fazal Peechoho, Minister for Energy, Imtiaz Shaikh and Member Provincial Assembly of Sindh and Chairman Standing Committee on Health, Qasim Soomro also witnessed the ceremony. Kazim Jatoi, Secretary PWD, Zahid Abbasi, and Dr. Abdul Bari of Indus Hospital were also present at the ceremony.
Under the MoU, Population Welfare Department will provide commodities and technical support to Thar Foundation to provide family planning services in Tharparkar, and Indus Hospital will implement the family planning program on behalf of the Thar Foundation. Thar Foundation will also undertake social mobilization in local communities to benefit from this service.
The parties will collaborate in establishing and improving the family planning network at various hospitals of Tharparkar district and setting up Thar Foundation’s mobile facilities.
To increase Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (PCR) in the target areas, awareness of Family Planning would be done to bring in maximum married women of reproductive age (MWRA) in the Family Planning network. The PWD will provide training and expertise in Family Planning techniques, certify medics and paramedics for the family planning service and ensure a continuous supply of contraceptive commodities.
Rehan Baloch, DG PWD told the ceremony that the family planning use of any method in district Tharparkar is just 6.6 percent, whereas unmet family planning need is recorded at 44 percent. Quoting Census of 2017 and MICS 2018, he said that the total Fertility Rate for the district is 4.6 per woman in the district of Tharparkar.
Elaborating the details of the partnership, Dr. Azra Fazal said that the extended services will eventually help in improving mother & child health in district Tharparkar, whereas smaller family sizes will ultimately help to address the poverty problem in the area and reduce infant and mother mortality.
Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh, who is also Chairman of the Thar Foundation Board, said Foundation has done lots of commendable work in the area and improved the human development indicators by aligning them with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
MPA Qasim Soomro was of the view that teenage pregnancies lead to premature and malnourished infant deaths in district Tharparkar, which will be addressed through expanding the family health services and social mobilization efforts in the area.
Naseer Memon of Thar Foundation said they are aware of the alarming family planning indicators in the district and focusing on these areas by enhancing the health services network. “Construction work on 120-Bed Thar Foundation Hospital Islamkot is also underway, which will further improve mother and child health services including free of cost surgeries and medicines,” he said.