ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan has significantly decreased the fertility rate from births per woman to 3.8 births per woman while the acceptance of modern family planning trends was recorded with an increment up to 54 percent in 2012-13, survey showed.
Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey was launched at a ceremony in Islamabad on Wednesday, indicating improvement in the trends of family planning and decrease in fertility rate.
The survey was carried out by National Institute of Population Studies in collaboration with the USAID.
According to the findings of the survey, fertility in Pakistan has decresed from 5.4 births per woman to 3.8 births per woman. It recognizes that the use of modern family methods has increased amongst the men and women while the vaccination coverage has gradually increased to fifty four percent in 2012-13.
On mortality rate of children, the survey says that one in every fourteen children dies before reaching one year of age while one in every eleven does not survive to the fifth birthday.
The survey says eight percent of adolescent women age 15-19 are already mothers or pregnant with their first child. Teenage fertility has decreased over time from 16% in 1990-91 to the current level of 8%. Young motherhood is highest in KP (10%) and lowest in Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan (7%).
Twenty-five percent of women age 25-49 were married by age 18 and more than half (54%) were married by age 20. There is evidence that age at first marriage among women in Pakistan is rising.
Four percent of currently married women and 3% of currently married men are in polygynous unions. Polygynous unions for married women decreased from 7% in 2006-07 to 4% in 2012-13.
Pakistani women and men want, on average, four children. women’s and men’s ideal family size is highest in Balochistan (6.1 for women and 7.1 for men) and lowest in ICT Islamabad (3.2 for women and 2.5 for men).
The survey also reveals that Pakistan has a high rate of marriages between cousins. Half of all marriages occur between first cousins. First-cousin marriages are lower in urban areas (38%) compared to rural areas (54%). First-cousin marriages range from 53% in Sindh to 40% in ICT Islamabad and Gilgit-Baltistan.
It says only 29% of married women age 15-49 interviewed in the survey are currently employed, compared to 98% of married men age 15-49.
Nine in ten currently married women do not own a house or land. Only 11% of women own a house, either alone or jointly, and only 4% own land. In comparison, one-quarter of Pakistani men do not own a house and more than two-thirds do not own land.
Less than half of women and one-third of men agree that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she argues with him, neglects the children, refuses to have sex with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the in-laws, or burns the food. Women are most likely to agree that wife beating is justified if a woman argues with her husband (34%). Men are more likely to agree that wife beating is justified if the wife goes out without telling him (20%).
Addressing the launching ceremony, Minister of State for National Health Services Dr Saira Afzal said the government is giving priority to the population welfare programs with particular emphasis on health and education sectors.
She pointed out that Pakistan is the sixth most populated country with population growing at the rate of two percent. Pakistan’s population will reach 210 million by 2020 if it continued to grow at the same rate. She said it is one of the highest rate in the region after Afghanistan. We also lag behind in socio-economic indicators.
The Minister said though the subject of population has been devolved to the provinces yet the federal government is closely monitoring the population welfare programs of the provinces.
Dr Saira Afzal said the infant mortality rate and malnutrition among the children are still very high which needs to be addressed at the earliest. She said a meeting of the provinces and other stakeholders will soon be convened to address the health related issues.
On the findings of the demographic and health survey, the Minister of State said that in the absence of population census, it provides us the credible data to formulate strategies to achieve millenium development goals and other targets.
In his remarks, Secretary of National Health Services Imtiaz Inayat Elahi said the ministry in collaboration with the provinces and other stakeholders have initiated several projects to raise awareness about the ill effects of rapid population growth and the health related issues.
Speaking on the occasion, US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olsan expressed his country’s support for Pakistan in the health sector. Recognizing the government’s efforts in the sector, he said it is encouraging to see improvement in different health indicators. He said his country is supporting the maternal and child health program over the years. We are also working with the federal and provincial governments to streamline the immunization campaign to ensure its reach across the country.
The provincial ministers for health and population welfare also spoke on the occasion and gave an overview of the upcoming projects in the health and population sectors.