ISLAMABAD-Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) following the Council of Common Interest (CCI) directions will devise a national action plan with financial modalities for population control in country, the statement said on Wednesday.

A statement released by the ministry of NHS said that CCI directed the ministry to prepare an action plan with financial modalities for operationalisation of the recommendations in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and submit for the approval of the Federal Task Force.

The Action Plan prepared by the ministry spells out the actions required to implement each CCI Recommendation with timeline, budget and output/impact indicators.

Statement said that it also indicates the responsible body to carry out the Action Plan and other stakeholders involved in the implementation of the particular Action.

This action plan aims to increase the present contraceptive prevalence rate of 34 per cent to 50 per cent by 2025 and 60 per cent by 2030, reduce the present fertility rate of 3.6 births per woman to 2.8 births by 2025 and 2.2 birth per woman by 2030 and lower the present average population growth rate of 2.4 per cent to 1.5 per cent by 2025, and to 1.1 per cent by 2030.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on NHS Dr. Zafar Mirza said that the 1st meeting of the Federal Task Force on Alarming Population Growth in Pakistan presided over by the President of Pakistan is a major step forward and an important landmark.

He said the agenda of the meeting was to approve National Action Plan, discuss National Narrative prepared on the direction of CCI’s decision taken in its 40th meeting held on 19th November, 2018 and set up the Pakistan Population Fund.

Dr. Zafar Mirza shared with the forum that Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world with a population of 207.8 million growing at an intercensal growth rate of 2.4 per cent per annum between 1998-2017.

He also pointed out that current rate of Pakistan’s population will double in the next 30 years, compared with an average doubling time of 60 years for other South Asian countries.

He said the Federal Task Force meeting also decided to create a Pakistan Population Fund.

The fund shall be utilised to meet 50 per cent amount of additional allocations made by the provinces for procurement of contraceptive commodities over and above the budget provision for five years.

He said the task also includes supporting innovative approaches of federal and provincial governments for reaching poor and marginalised population to reduce population growth and increase contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR).

A national narrative was deliberated to create a sense of urgency and necessity of reducing population growth rate and achieving socio-economic wellbeing for all.

SAPM on NHS also said that it was agreed by the members of task force to convene the next meeting in a month’s time.

Meanwhile, in a surprise visit to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Dr. Zafar Mirza said that government will make all efforts for the uninterrupted supply of medicine for patients at hospital.

He said that ministry has focused to strengthen the universal health coverage in the country and improving health facilities in hospitals.

He said that to reduce the patients burden at hospitals, government is strengthening primary healthcare structure in the country.

He also urged doctors and para medical staff to provide best healthcare to patients visiting hospital.