Family planning (FP) is recognized as a necessary tool for faster fertility decline leading to accelerated economic development. However, its unique and potent role in preserving mother and child health is less well understood. This Population Council/Evidence Project policy brief explains why FP must be prioritized in Punjab’s health strategy as a key intervention for reducing maternal, infant, and under-five mortality in the province. By fulfilling the existing unmet need for birth spacing and limiting, it is possible to prevent 45 percent of maternal deaths, 26 percent of infant deaths, and 76 percent of young child deaths. FP’s wider health benefits include reduced anemia among women; lower numbers of underweight, wasted, and stunted children; and a reduced burden on antenatal, obstetric, postnatal, and post-abortion services. FP is also highly cost-effective: every dollar spent on this intervention saves nearly four dollars that would otherwise be spent on maternal health, immunization, malaria, water and sanitation, and education. FP’s benefits in terms of increased women’s empowerment, female participation in the workforce, household savings, poverty reduction, and school enrollment are also well-documented.
Sathar, Zeba, Maqsood Sadiq, and Seemin Ashfaq. 2015. "Reducing maternal and child mortality in Punjab: The untapped potential of family planning," Policy brief. Islamabad: Population Council, The Evidence Project.
The Evidence Project