HUMAN WELFARE:In Mustaqbil’s view “Human Welfare” includes the interrelated areas of health care, population planning, and education for women on sexual reproduction and neo and post natal care.
Health CareMustaqbil believes firmly that the state must assume full responsibility for the free and comprehensive health care of all of its citizens. This should be a basic right of citizenship. We believe this to be an ambitious but not unattainable goal. There are many impediments to its implementation, not least of which are financial constraints imposed by decades of government mismanagement and corruption.
Achieving the goal of universal health care will take time and perseverance. Here is how we intend to proceed:
· Build new public hospitals in cities and towns where none now exist
· Refurbish, upgrade and modernize existing Government hospitals
· Build new clinics in all villages with populations in excess of 5000 people
Hospitals and clinics are of no use without the trained personnel to staff them. We have already mentioned in our policy on education that we will make it a mandatory condition of admission to medical school for graduating doctors to spend at least 5 years of their careers working in Government hospitals and clinics in rural areas.
Similar programs will be introduced for other health care workers such as nurses, pharmacists and medical technicians.
The Pharma industry will be given the support necessary to wean itself away from reliance on the major drug companies. This will be provided in the form of policies that encourage bio medical research at local Universities. Close communication between industry and academia will be made mandatory.
Research will also be encouraged in traditional remedies such as “Hikmat” which relies on the medicinal properties of herbs, natural essences and nectars such as honey. These remedies have been developed over the centuries through trial and experience. We need now to formalize this work and use it to provide cost effective and ‘low impact’ treatments to our people.
Population PlanningPopulation planning is critical, not just to providing health care, but to all aspects of life in Pakistan. West Pakistan’s population in 1972, just after separation from East Pakistan was 65 million. Today – 37 years later – this figure stands at 170 million. This almost tripling of the population represents an average annual population growth rate over this period of about 2.7%. Successive governments who during this period have failed to address this runaway rate can only be characterized as criminally negligent. They are guilty of a gross and unforgivable failure to carry out the basic obligations of good governance.
So here we are today with a 170 million people who live, for the most part, on infrastructure designed for 65 million.
Recent estimates of this growth rate put it at about 2%. This is still unacceptably high. If our population were to grow at this rate – 2% – for the next 37 years it would become about 350 million by the year 2046. This would be an unqualified catastrophe. It would result in harrowing hunger and deprivation.
This growth rate must be brought to zero if we are to have any chance of giving all our people the rights and privileges that come with being citizens of any self respecting state.
Hence Mustaqbil has set itself the target to bring the population growth rate down to zero within 5 years of our taking office. This will mean bringing the total fertility rate (TFR) down to about 2.1 from its current level of about 5. The TFR is roughly defined as the number of children that would be born to a woman during her lifetime.
Bringing the TFR down to 2.1 from 5 will be a huge challenge. It will require more than anything else the education and empowerment of women.
Empowerment of Women There can be no hope of progress in containing population growth (or for that matter of progress on any national issue) until women – all women – in our society are ’empowered’. We take this term to encompass the full spectrum of rights and privileges that women must enjoy and possess. These include education, social status and esteem, equality in the law of the land with men, and health care to suit their unique needs.
All these issues are taken up detail in our policy on women. Here, specifically in terms of, the role of women in limiting population growth, Mustaqbil will adopt the following approach:
· Campaigns to educate women – especially in the rural areas – on sexual reproduction and methods of contraception.
· Provision of contraceptives as appropriate – male contraceptives such as condoms or birth control pills where appropriate.
· Use the health
· Publicity campaigns targeted at women telling them that they have the right to say “No”
· Providing economic incentives that encourage families to have just two children.
All of this will work in conjunction with or general policies for women which include much enhanced legal rights and protection form abuse and battering.