Islamabad: It can cost as little as 50 paise for a condom to help a couple space out their family in Pakistan, but many health professionals are dumbfounded on why the message to use the contraceptive is not getting through – either to the population or the government.
According to the Express Tribune, family planning with a particular focus on birth spacing remains a no-go zone in the country with many men using religion or tradition as a crutch.
Women end up with numerous health complications, and are often left at the mercy of ‘hakeems’ and ‘pirs’ who prescribe various ‘totkas’, when all the couple need is a contraceptive.
The USAID’s Deliver Project and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been working on building and maintaining a strong contraceptive supply chain across the country, and in collaboration with the government, they have also launched a Contraceptive Procurement Manual and an online logistics management information system (LMIS).
The project is responsible for forecasting, projecting, warehousing and supplying contraception products.
This allows government officials, healthcare professionals and suppliers to analyse and regularly update stocks of products such as condoms, intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD or the coil), injections and birth control pills.
The project is targeting 80 percent use of contraceptives across Pakistan within two years.
Meanwhile, director for programmes at the National Trust for Population Welfare (NATPOW), Dr Nasser Mohiuddin, suggests that they need to coordinate on the availability of healthcare providers to make any significant impact.
“Pakistan has an unmet [contraceptive] need of over 25 percent, if we are able to improve the availability of healthcare professionals and contraceptives, this could be slashed to around six percent,” Mohiuddin said.