The Center for Communication Programs Pakistan organized a two-day orientation workshop on Family Planning and Reproductive Health for journalists from Sindh under Sukh Initiative, which is a multi-donor funded family planning and reproductive health program of Aman Health Care Services. The program aims to increase modern contraceptive prevalence rate by 15 percentage points in the one million underserved peri-urban population of Karachi, Pakistan. The Center being communication partner to Sukh Initiative is supporting a range of external and program communication activities of the program.
The workshop that aimed at revitalizing support of media on promotion of family planning issues for realizing national objectives and keeping international commitments had participation of more than 20 journalists from print and broadcast media covering health beat. The first day of the workshop, comprising seminars and talks by subject experts, focused on population dynamics, its effects on urbanization and development, the role of family planning, and latest trends and challenges in the uptake of family planning.
Dr. Tauseef Ahmed, Senior Technical Advisor, Pathfinder, made a detailed presentation elucidating the family planning and maternal health paradigm. Journalists were run through different stages of demographic transition in Pakistan. He emphasized the role of female education and empowerment as major factors in lowering fertility and mitigating the effects of population growth.
Dr. Atif Ikram Butt, Executive Director, Center for Communication Programs Pakistan, held an interactive discussion with journalists on social and behavioral challenges in the uptake of family planning. He touched upon 10 major challenges to family planning that surface due to myths and misconceptions in the society about early marriages, early motherhood, bigger family size, son preference, female sterlization, among others.
Dr. Haris Ahmed, Head of Sukh Initiative, emphasized the need for family planning and the active role Sukh Initiative is playing for creating enabling environment to this effect. He urged the journalists and media to create awareness on family planning and birth spacing so that it is widely accepted as means to happier healthier life. During her presentation, Ms. Aazya Rafiq, Deputy Head of Sukh Initiative expounded the program model of Sukh Initiative and how it is helping achieve family planning objectives. Representatives of the Senior Management Team of Sukh Initiative were also present on the occasion, who responded to different questions arising from the interactive discussions held on Sukh Initiative program model.
In his presentation, Mr. Lutaf A. Mangrio, Head of Operations Sukh Initiative discussed the cause and effect of rapid urbanization. He underscored the need for greater focus on planning and development of secondary cities and small towns and controlling internal immigration.
Dr. Yasmeen Sabih Qazi, Senior Country Advisor, the Lucile and Packard Foundation, with her rich experience of overseeing family planning programs at regional and national levels, expressed hope in turning around the family planning scenario of Pakistan. She considered strong political will, governmental support and public-private partnership essential ingredients to realizing FP2020 goals. Moreover, she asked the journalists to play their positive and constructive role in highlighting family planning issues.
As per the workshop format, the participating journalists held a brainstorming session and presented their recommendations to support the cause of family planning at individual and collective levels. As a result of the deliberations, it was agreed to form a network of participating journalists who will proactively contribute as proponents of family planning in their own right and important members of the society.
On the second-day of the workshop, the participating journalists were taken on field tour, where they were given briefing on the various operations of Sukh Initiative. The journalists were first taken to the designated field station and informed about the functions of community health workers and the challenges they face in rendering their responsibilities. These health workers, mostly women belonging to the respective communities, provide family planning services. The journalists interacted with the community health workers and learned about their systematic work cycle.
In the visit to ‘Youth Friendly Space’, established in the vicinity of two schools, the journalists were briefed how Sukh Initiative is able to reach out to the school going and out-of-school adolescents and youth. The adolescents receive life skills based education and counseling when needed. Moreover the youth subscribed with the youth friendly space contribute towards social mobilization. Thereafter the journalist group was taken to Aman Clinic, established and operated by Aman Health. A doctor at the clinic gave briefing to the journalists about the particular family planning services provided at Aman Clinic.
The field visit concluded at Aman Foundation, where the journalists were introduced to the various services run by Aman Foundation, including its Ambulance services, Telehealth call center, and vocational training.
After the field visit, a brief concluding ceremony was held at Aman Foundation, where the journalists had the opportunity to meet with the senior management team of Aman Foundation and Aman Health Care Services.
The workshop concluded with distribution of certificates to the journalists and on a note of making collective efforts for the promotion of family planning, especially through the support of print and broadcast media in the country.