There is still some substantial controversy over the practice of contraception in Pakistan. Although Pakistan’s total fertility rate, 5 births per woman or more in 2000, has declined in this decade, Pakistan still remains among the most fertile countries in the world (Sathar 1).
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National programs designed to reduce fertility levels have seen minimal success and Pakistan needs a closer look at the facts about its fertility rates and the methods it can use to reduce its fertility. If it fails to implement good fertility control programs, it is projected that by the year 2050, it will be among the most populated three countries in the world.
Pakistan is expected to have more population than Brazil by the year 2025 based on the trends in its population and fertility in the past. With a population of 145.5 million in the year 2000, Pakistan is expected to have a population of about 246.3 million in the year 2025 (Sathar 19). It is expected to be among the top three most populated countries in the world by the middle of this century.
In spite of these predictions, the growth rate of Pakistan’s population is expected to decrease in the five-year period between 2025 and 2030. In the same period, total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, crude death rate and crude birth rate are expected to decline to 2.7, 42.2, 5.6 and 21.4 respectively. The population growth rate is expected to be 1.52 during this five-year period. Additionally, the life expectancy will increase to an approximate of 72 years (Sathar 29).
The rates of the use of contraceptives in Pakistan were, essentially, stagnant between the year 1975 and 1991 (Sathar 21). This can be attributed to the low level of government involvement in family planning matters. The decade between 1990 and 2000 was, however, characterized by an exponential rise in the prevalence of contraception.
In a survey conducted in 1994 and 1995, evidence showed that contraception prevalence among married women changed from 12 % in 1990 to 18 %. A second survey conducted in 1996/1997 showed an increase in contraception rates to 24 %. The projected prevalence rate for contraception in the year 2000 was 38 % (Sathar 16). The contraception rates were thus the ones responsible for the fall of the total fertility rate of Pakistan in the 1990’s (Fruchtbaum 1).
The transition of the fertility of Pakistan over the years is mainly attributable to the increase of marriage age of females since the year 1961. It is also partly caused by the highlighted moderate increase of the prevalence of contraceptives. The fertility transition can also be, arguably, explained by the high female mortality evident in this country (Hagen 1). There are also other socio-economic factors that can be used to explain the fertility patterns. An example of the aforementioned is urbanization which has greatly affected fertility rates.
Given the fertility problem in Pakistan, programs aimed at reducing fertility rates should be improved to ensure effective implementation. For instance, policies should be formulated to ensure that the rate of contraception is satisfactory. The government should also provide facilities for proper maternity care to ensure that the high rate of mortality among women in the country is checked (Fruchtbaum 1). Other factors leading to increased fertility like development of poor urban settlements should also be controlled to contain the problem.
Fruchtbaum, Harold. “Women Status and Fertility in Pakistan.” 1994. Web.
Hagen, Catherine. “Fertility and Family Planning Trends in Karachi, Pakistan”. 1999 . Web.
Sathar, Zeba. “Fertility in Pakistan: Past, Present and Future.” 2001. Web.