"Five of our staff members were killed by fundamentalists. But one of their sisters joined to take the social fight further as a health worker," Sayed Kamal Shah, CEO of Rahnuma which is the largest NGO working in the area of reproductive health, said.
Shah was in Kochi to make a presentation at the ongoing global health conference on social marketing and social franchising, being organized by HLFPPT from December 3-5.
The main hurdles of family planning programmes in Pakistan, according to Shah, are lack of political will, insufficient public funding, unavailability, stigma, family pressure and religious concerns.
"The attitude among the people is changing fast now and there is a huge demand. The unmet needs for contraceptives are 33 percent. People want to buy contraceptives, but availability is the concern," he explained.
The government spending is below 25 percent in Pakistan where the provincial governments were entrusted to handle the health subject, making things further complicated. "Political parties are not also ready to take a stand to support family planning," he said.
The coming days would also be challenging to the country which is poised to have 38 crore people by 2050, from the current level of 18 crore.
"The allocation is not coming. There is no national policy for health or education and there is no commitment from the external donors to support the programmes after 2014," Shah said.
Rahnuma, which is active in advocacy and service delivery, runs 120 clinics, including 12 hospitals, and is the biggest partner with governments for healthcare programmes in Pakistan. It is also a member of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).


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