Technical implementation of the three-year KfW-funded and EPOS-implemented Rural Family Planning Project began earlier this year. With a total volume of €7.5 million, the project aims to contribute to improving access of the population, especially the poor and vulnerable groups, to improved demand-oriented, affordable, accessible and acceptable reproductive health services. In Pakistan 25% of married women have an unmet need for family planning. Maternal mortality remains high, at an estimated 276 deaths per 100,000 live births. Infant mortality remains at 78 deaths per 1000 live births.
The project operates in Punjab, FATA, Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is being implemented by the non-governmental organisations Greenstar, DKT, Rahnuma/FPAP and Aga Khan Health Services Pakistan (AKHSP) with facilitation by the EPOS project team lead by Team Leader Jim Myers, and assisted by the National Project Manager Ahmad Usman.
The main features of the project are to construct and renovate a number of basic health facilities and maternity wards. A network of healthcare providers is to be developed and health workers, community midwives and mobilizers will be trained. In addition, Village Health Committees and e-health technology will be established to connect selected primary health centers with higher healthcare facilities.
A project kick-off meeting recently took place on April 25th in Islamabad, bringing together representatives of the four NGOs, Provincial Departments of Health, the Economic Affairs Division (EAD), and KfW Development Bank's Islamabad Office. Participants included Deputy Secretary Economic Affairs Division Naveed Shinwari, KfW Director Wolfgang Moellers, the Chief Executive Officers of the four implementing organizations Greenstar Social Marketing, DKT International, Rahnuma / FPAP and Agha Khan Foundation, and Susanne Manns, Deputy Managing Director of EPOS.
Speaking on the occasion, Ishaq Shinwari, Deputy Secretary EAD, thanked KFW for providing vital support to Pakistan specially to address this critically important issue of Reproductive Health. EAD ensured that Pakistan is fully committed to mobilize efforts and scale up practices for reproductive health issues.
KfW's Wolfgang Moellers recognised EAD for its support and highlighted the efforts of partner NGOs for their exemplary work in helping families. This tripartite partnership is expected to achieve lasting results that will benefit current and future generations of Pakistanis. Adding to his comments, representatives of all four NGOs also thanked the German Government for its support in addressing the very critical issue of maternal and child health in Pakistan.
Development cooperation between Pakistan and Germany goes back to 1961 exceeding €3 billion. In the health sector, the KFW Development Bank invests on behalf of the German Government in health programs to improve the mother and child health, reconstruct hospitals in AJK, support social health protection schemes in KP and GB, finance safe blood transfusion systems nationwide and immunization programs.