LAHORE: Participants in a multi-stakeholder dialogue presented a model framework for engaging the private sector to improve family planning services in Punjab.
Comparative data from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Surveys 2013-2014 and 2017-2018 show that the use of family doctors and pharmacies for family planning services is increasing.
Private medical practitioners have enormous potential to expand access and over 100,000 doctors can be tapped, spread across the country in urban and rural areas. About 70% of doctors are men and can motivate and guide men to seek family planning services.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Population Welfare Department (PWD), Primary and Secondary Health Care Department (PSHD), Punjab Health Care Commission (PHC), Institute of departments of medical sciences, Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians, pharmaceutical companies and others.
The PWD works to support the implementation of CCI recommendations to ensure universal access to family planning/reproductive health at the federal and provincial levels.
The recommendation emphasizes the need for universal access to family planning and reproductive health services and specifically mentions all private sector practitioners and hospitals licensed to provide family planning advice, information and services to clients. .
PWD Director Dr. Afshan Tahir said private providers, especially family doctors, should support public sector efforts to improve access to family planning services. She said private practitioners should counsel their patients and refer them to family planning services to ensure universal access to FP services.
She also focused on building stronger public-private partnerships to meet the RH/FP needs of the people of Punjab.
PWD Addl Secretary Dr. Naila Altaf said building the capacity of private providers is essential and they would allocate sufficient resources to facilitate the training of family doctors and general practitioners.
An open discussion that was also part of the meeting featured major steps forward to solidify the government’s partnership with the Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians and proposed the establishment of a technical advisory committee to implement the decisions made at the the meeting.
Posted in Dawn, February 23, 2022