Alternate Scenarios for Population Control in Pakistan: The Issueof Contraceptive Method Mix

According to the Sixth and Seventh Five-Year Development Plansthe Population Programme was supposed to follow a multisectoral approachto expand its coverage and provide women with alternatives to regulatereproduction. It never emerged in a practical form. As a matter of fact,Pakistan’s population programme has always followed a supply-orientedapproach assuming that demand exists, but unfortunately the majorconstraints which inhibited the programme was the poor supply ofcontraceptives and the lack of consistency in the contraceptive mix. Thesignificance of the method mix lies in the potential impact onpopulation growth rate and the time taken to realise this impact. Arecent exercise by Choe (1991) estimates ‘ideal’ contraceptive mix basedon a number of factors, like past and intended fertility, estimatedpregnancy risk, and health status at various reproductive ages. Theexercise revealed that the observed method mix differed significantlywith the ideal mix. It is further argued that the adoption of the idealmix could bring an early transition in population growth. The currentanalysis though does not estimate the ‘ideal’ mix but examines variousscenarios to bring down the rapidly growing population.

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