WASHINGTON, July 12, 2023—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$100 million for the Punjab Family Planning Program to increase the utilization of family planning services in Pakistan’s Punjab province, which is home to more than half of the country’s population.
“This important program aims to achieve universal access to reproductive healthcare and to raise the usage of family planning methods in Punjab to 60 percent by 2030,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “This is critical for Pakistan’s development, as excessive population growth rates hampers development, slows the accumulation of human capital, and contributes to keeping families in poverty.”
The Punjab Family Planning Program will provide timely access to quality family planning services free of charge. It will also institutionalize quality of care across the family planning services delivery system. It will support public information and advocacy campaigns so that more families are made aware of the benefits of family planning.
The program will scale up innovations, such as clinical franchising, voucher schemes, and family planning counseling through community leaders, which have been piloted in different districts of Punjab and have shown improvements in family planning outcomes. Through an extensive network of Lady Health Workers, Family Welfare Workers and Community Health Workers that are linked to health facilities, family health clinics and family welfare centers, the program will reach areas and communities that have limited or no access to family planning services. The program will scale up the voucher incentive scheme, social marketing, male and community leaders’ engagement and youth platforms for increasing utilization of family planning services. It will also improve the interpersonal communication skills of family planning service providers.
“Family planning enables couples to make informed choices about the number of children they want to have, and when they want to have them,” said Manav Bhattarai, Team Leader for the program. “Enabling individuals to plan their families helps prevent unplanned or unintended pregnancies, ultimately leading to a decrease in overall fertility rates.”
The program will be implemented in all districts through the service delivery networks of the Population Welfare Department and the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, the two project implementing agencies. The program uses the Program-for-Results (PforR) financing instrument which links disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of specific program results.
The World Bank in Pakistan
Pakistan has been a member of the World Bank since 1950. Since then, the World Bank has provided $40 billion in assistance. The World Bank’s program in Pakistan is governed by a Country Partnership Strategy with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current portfolio has 58 projects and a total commitment of $14.8 billion.