Family planning empowers women – a story from Pakistan

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

This is the story of a young woman in Pakistan. She has  4 children, and the pregnancies took place in quick succession.  Using condoms was against the pride of her husband. The young woman lives in poverty, and she is worried about the future of her children. On the advice of her neighbor, she visited the Dhanak Health Care Centre in her living area.  In a professional and confidential manner, a counsellor advised her on various contraceptive options. Now she is using an intrauterine contraceptive (IUCD) as a long-term method. Her life has changed. "No more unwanted pregnancies," says the young woman with relief.

In Pakistan, access to reliable and affordable family planning is still poor. Only a fraction of women use contraceptives. Unplanned pregnancies are the norm, especially in rural areas, where low levels of education, illiteracy and gender-based prejudices severely restrict women's access to modern family planning. EPOS has played a part in changing this, in part by facilitating – in cooperation with local NGOs -  access to modern (long-term) contraceptives even in conservative rural areas. In the KfW-financed ‘Rural Family Planning Project’ (RFPP), the team pursued a threefold strategy of awareness-raising, access to high-quality products and services, and renovating/constructing customer-friendly health facilities. This comprehensive approach has been the practice of the RFPP for more than two years, with positive results. The demand for modern contraceptives has increased and there is a clear shift towards long-term methods, although products for short-term use such as condoms and oral pills are also provided.  Service providers acknowledge an increase in the number of customers who seek information and advice on family planning and who accept the new methods.