Punjab family planning to receive $100m

WASHINGTON: A sum of $100 million for the Punjab Family Planning Programme has been approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.

The programme will provide access to quality family planning services free of charge and institutionalise the quality of care across Punjab, which houses over half the country’s population, the lender confirmed in a press release.

“This important programme aims to achieve universal access to reproductive healthcare and to raise the usage of family planning methods in Punjab to 60% by 2030,” said World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine.

“This is critical for Pakistan’s development, as excessive population growth rates hampers development, slows the accumulation of human capital, and contributes to keeping families in poverty,” he said.

The programme will reach areas and communities that have limited or no access to family planning services, through an extensive network of health professionals and welfare centres.

The program will improve innovations, such as clinical franchising, voucher schemes, and family planning counseling through community leaders, which have been piloted in different districts of Punjab and have shown improvements in family planning outcomes.

It will also improve the interpersonal communication skills of family planning service providers.

The programme lead Manav Bhattarai said that “family planning enables couples to make informed choices about the number of children they want to have, and when they want to have them”.

“Enabling individuals to plan their families helps prevent unplanned or unintended pregnancies, ultimately leading to a decrease in overall fertility rates.”

The programme will be implemented across the province through the delivery networks of the Population Welfare Department and the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, the two project-implementing agencies.

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