Clerics for family planning: Govt to expand programme to entire province

PESHAWAR: After officials claimed that a pilot had been successful, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday decided to extend a programme to the rest of the province which would see religious scholars employed to create awareness on family planning and reproductive health.

The project concept-1 for extending the programme has already been completed and is expected to be sent to the federal government for consideration.

“We initially started advocacy campaigns in four districts of the province with support from 21 religious scholars and ulema since they have great influence on the community at large,” said Imran Shah, the director for family planning at the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Population Welfare Department.

“It has been a huge success,” he beamed.

The family planning director explained that they will engage 1,050 religious scholars in over 1,000 union councils of the province under the expansion plan (a ratio of around one religious scholar per union council) to raise awareness on family planning.

Shah said that they could engage additional clerics for the programme.

Claiming that K-P was the first province in the country to have developed a population welfare policy after devolution of powers under the 18th amendment and was followed by Sindh and Punjab, Shah said that the policy had carefully considered the social and cultural values of the province.

“The department is trying to raise awareness about maternal and child health by sensitizing the public about family planning,” he said.

To ensure that the people are provided accurate guidance about reproductive health, the family planning director said that they have worked on increasing the number of family welfare centres across the province from 422 to 632.

Similarly, the number of mobile service unit has been increased from 30 to 34, while the number of reproductive health centres has increased from 26 to 31 over the past four years.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2018.

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