Karachi: Marie Stopes Society (MSS) held a half-day meeting in local hotel, with health reporters from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which focused on raising profile of reproductive health reporting and promoting healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies to decrease maternal mortality at district level.
Journalists from print and electronic media from more than 10 districts of KPK were present at the event including SWAT and Kohat.
The moot was told that 14 million couples want to plan their families. Yet, one in every four pregnancies is unintended. Couples continue to suffer due to lack of awareness of modern family planning methods. 6 per cent of mothers of all ages die due to unsafe abortions. Keeping these facts in mind, the event focused on having a discussion on what should be done to address and eventually eradicate these maladies.
Dr. Haris Ahmed from Pathfinder International presented alarming numbers of maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Pakistan. Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2006-07 puts Pakistan’s total MMR at 227 with Balochistan to have the highest – 785, followed by Sindh at 314 and KPK at 275. He stressed the importance of family planning and birth spacing.
Rehan Khan from Rutgers WPF shed light on facts regarding early marriages in Pakistan. He informed guests that young mothers (15 or 16 years of age) are twice as likely to die during childbirth. He claimed that 30% of all Pakistani marriages are child marriages.
Adil Naeem from MSS stated that media has the power to bring about a change. Thus, he urged, media use their powers for a better future for Pakistan.
An overwhelming response and support on highlighting the issue by all participants was witnessed. Some shared their own personal experiences in regard to this problem. Reporters felt a huge reason for this tragedy is lack of awareness and lack of facilities. Media Strategy Consultant, Wajih Akhter concluded the session by requesting for individual recommendations from all the reporters present. These recommendations were followed by commitment to contribute to this cause at an individual capacity.