High Level UNFPA delegation due to meet AJK President tomorrow – Sept. 9:

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UNFPA  engages AJK President office to seek enhancement of service delivery in Reproductive Health and Family Planning Services in AJK:

Altaf Hamid Rao;

MIRPUR (AJK),(Parliament Times):The UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) is understood to emerge with diverse approach to support Azad Jammu Kashmir Population Welfare Department with prime focus to ensure enhancement of service delivery in the areas of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services in AJK, authoritative official sources said.

Since the AJK gives high priority to sustainable population in the State, a high power delegation of UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), headed by the Country Representative Pakistan, Ms. Lina Mousa is all set to call on Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu & Kashmir State at his camp office at Jammu & Kashmir House in federal capital on Wednesday (Sept 9), the AJK State Population Welfare Department sources told this Correspondent here on Tuesday.

Led by the Country Representative Pakistan, Ms. Lina Mousa, the UNFPA delegation will be comprising Dr. Yilma Melkamu Alazar, International Advisor Family Planning, Dr. Asif Wazir Technical Specialist – SDGs / Pop Dynamics and Ms. Humaira Mehboob, Communication Officer UNFPA on this occasion, the sources said.

The AJK State Government delegation, led by Dr. Mustafa Bashir Abbasi, Minister for Population, TEVTA & IT, comprising Raja Muhammad Razzaque, Secretary Population Welfare Department, Mr. Zeeshan Arif, Director General and Dr. Ashfaq Ahmed Khan, Director/ Principal Regional Training Institute will represent the State Government in the meeting, according to the sources.

According to a study conducted by this Correspondent, AJK is a small State with an area comprising 13297 sq. km, having a population of 4.111 million (in 2017) with growth rate of 1.63, having 51% women populace. Though the demographic indicators in AJK are encouraging, mainly due to higher literacy rate i.e. 76.8 %—with 67.3 % in females while 86.9% in male population—as compared to other Provinces and Regions. However, hilly terrain, sparsely spread population and low capacity to implement Population/Family Planning Program could be attributed towards:

i. Low CPR (Contraceptive Prevalence Rate);

ii. High unmet need (22%); and

iii. High TFR—Total Fertility Rate— (3.5).

Besides, low accessibility of FP/RH services is also a challenging area for AJK. High unmet need based on demands of 50% married women in the region also highlights lack of awareness amongst targeted populations which calls for an enhanced advocacy campaign for the cause. The challenge becomes taller in view of poor resources of the State and lack of donor support and support from other international community (INGOs).

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