Islamabad: A Policy Dialogue on Reproductive Health was organized by LEAD Pakistan in Lahore today. The basic objective of this Dialogue was to discuss and debate research conducted under “Enabling Effective Leadership for Reproductive Health”, a project of LEAD Pakistan in collaboration with David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and provide recommendations to the government for improvement of the Reproductive Health indicators of Pakistan.
Though similar events have been held previously inSindh, this Policy Dialogue was the first of its kind to be held in Lahore.
Secretary Population and Welfare Department, Government of Punjab, Mr. Javaid Akhtar, Senior Country Advisor, Population Program, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Dr. Yasmeen Sabeeh Qazi,Provincial Program Coordinator National MNCH Program, Dr. Sabiha Sheikh, Deputy Secretary Technical-PWD, Dr. Afshan Tahir, Additional SecretaryTechnical–PWD, Dr. Attiya Maruf and Provincial Coordinator for Family Planning and Primary Health Care, Dr. Akhtar Rasheed were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.
The event was widely attended by government officials,health professionals, members of academia and media representatives.
After screening of the documentary ‘Gar hai tum ko Maa ka Khayal’, Chief Technical Advisor, Health, LEAD Pakistan, Dr. Suleman Qazi, gave a brief overview of the project. He said that “Enabling Effective Leadership for Reproductive Health” is a project aimed at addressing outstanding gaps in Reproductive Health by developing the leadership capacity of a cadre of multi-sectoral stakeholders, trained on reproductive health issues in the districts of Lodhran (Punjab) and Khairpur (Sindh).
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Population and Welfare Department, Government of Punjab, Mr. Javaid Akhtar highlighted the significance of media in sensitizing the people of Pakistan on reproductive health issues and stated that media should come forward and play its much awaited role. Highlighting the positive impacts of devolution, he said that it has strengthenedthe ownership of provinces by giving more autonomy to them to frame their own health-related policies.
While talking about the research studies, CEO LEAD, Mr. Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said that research had been conducted in district Khairpur, Sindh with the assistance of LEAD Pakistan’s reproductive health Cohort members. He said that the purpose behind the presentation of this research in Punjab was to discuss how solutions to reproductive health issues, originally given for Sindh, could be replicated in Punjab as well.
Later, the Cohort members presented their respective research studies on, “Enhancing Local Government Synergy”, “District Strategy for Reproductive Health”, “District Budgeting” and “Male Involvement in Reproductive Health”.
In her concluding remarks, Senior Country Advisor, Population Program, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Dr. Yasmeen Sabeeh Qazi stressed the international significance of reproductive health as being essential for achieving all Millennium Development Goals(MDGs).
It should be noted that under this project LEAD Pakistan has till date built the capacities of 44 Cohort members, 30 community members and 16 out of school girls of age 11 – 20 in district Khairpur, Sindh and has been involved in sensitization of locals on reproductive health issues in district Lodhran, Punjab.