WASHINGTON: In Pakistan, couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing and time of children, but often lack access to information and the means to make informed decisions , indicates an American report published on Friday.
Earlier on Friday, the US State Department released an addendum to its annual human rights reports to cover the issue of reproductive health, which will be included in all future reports.
The report noted that in Pakistan, authorities have provided regular access to sexual and reproductive health services for survivors of sexual violence.
“All cases of sexual violence reported in a public facility are also reported to the police. Survivors of sexual violence receive clinical examination and treatment; surviving women are offered emergency contraceptives, ”the report adds.
The report pointed out that last year, “the Lahore High Court declared virginity testing illegal and of no forensic value in cases of sexual violence.”
Yet young girls and women were particularly vulnerable to issues related to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and often lacked information and resources to access care, the report notes.
According to this report, marital opposition has also contributed to the difficulties faced by women in obtaining contraception or delaying pregnancy. Women, especially in rural areas, had difficulty accessing reproductive health and rights education due to social constraints, which also complicated data collection.
The report also mentions the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Reproductive Healthcare Rights Bill, passed in July 2020, which obliges the provincial government to provide information on reproductive health care, to provide quality family planning services, including contraceptive methods to short, long-term and permanent, and to allow local access to contraceptives.
The Sindh Assembly adopted the Sindh Reproductive Health Rights Bill in November 2019 to increase access to rural health centers and family planning resources, and to reduce pregnancy-related complications. and childbirth.
The report also cites the most recent United Nations research, which puts the maternal mortality rate at 140 deaths per 100,000 live births, a rate attributed to a lack of health information and services. The report laments that few women in rural areas have access to skilled assistants during childbirth, including essential obstetric and postpartum care.
Unicef estimated that the direct and indirect effects of Covid-19 resulted in a 14.5% increase in infant mortality and a 21.3% increase in maternal mortality in 2020, the report adds.
The report also included recent statistics provided by the National Institute for Demographic Studies, noting that 86% of women were receiving antenatal care. Unicef data shows that skilled healthcare providers delivered 71% of births in 2019.
The World Health Organization, citing 2010-2018 data, reported an adolescent birth rate of 46 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19.
Posted in Dawn, le 6 November 2021