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Can Family Planning Improve the Life of Pakistani Labour?

03:59 PM | 1 May, 2024
Can Family Planning Improve the Life of Pakistani Labour?

The global human population reached 8 billion in November 2022, adding 1 billion people since 2010 and 2 billion since 1998. According to Pakistan’s National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS), Pakistan is ranked the fifth most populous country in the world, with a population of 242 million, of which 93.75 million reside in urban areas, whereas 147.75 million live in rural areas.

Rapid population growth is a significant challenge for lower-middle-income countries like Pakistan as it creates affordability challenges and increases public expenditures per capita. This rapid increase in population is required to eradicate poverty, end hunger and malnutrition, and ensure universal access to essential services such as healthcare and education.

Due to the rapid increase in population and low literacy rate, Pakistan has a large labour force and is among the world's top 10 labour forces. The Labor Force Survey (LFS) 2020-21, conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, shows that the number of employed labourers increased to 67.25 million in 2020-21 compared to 64.03 million in 2018-19. The working-age population between 15-24 and 25-34 is 41.77 million and 31.28 million, respectively.

According to Shahrukh Alam Butt, the director operations of Marie Stopes Society, Pakistan's labour class faces increased problems due to low literacy rate, poor economic conditions, and large family size. He referenced the services of Marie Stopes Society, enabling couples to make informed decisions about family planning, take control of their reproductive health, and achieve their desired family size. He added that their programs are especially designed for the poorest of the poor and underserved communities. 

Shahrukh mentioned that over the last 13 years, they have served 7.8 million family planning clients with high-quality family planning and reproductive health services through their well-trained staff at different service channels. This includes 3.6 million clients of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods and 16.9 million units of short-acting contraceptive methods.

Khalida Bibi, a 38-year-old bricklayer woman who has been making bricks for 15 years with her husband and another family member, is a mother of 11 children. She resides with her family in a temporary shelter in the remote village of Gujranwala.

Bibi shared that she and her husband were uneducated and had no exposure to the advanced world. They saw childbirth as a natural outcome of marriage and had never thought about getting family planning services. Noor Elahi, her husband, added that when they married, no one guided them about keeping the family size according to their resources.

She emphasized that having more children does affect a woman's health. However, after interacting with the Marie Stopes Society, she and her husband learned about family planning. They decided to get family planning services, which they referenced as the best decision of their life. Noor Elahi added that family planning could improve their family’s livelihood.

Marie Stopes Society strongly believes that access to safe and affordable quality family planning services must be ensured for all, especially the poorest of the poor, through the public and private sector networks to achieve the FP 2030 commitments. It will help to improve the livelihoods of the labour class in the country, Shahrukh Alam Butt added. 

A media expert on labour issues, Amer Raza, explains that labour-class families in Pakistan tend to have many children for various reasons. Some families see it as an increase in working hands, while others prioritize having sons, which can lead them to larger family sizes.

Overall, Pakistan's high rate of population growth has resulted in many challenges, such as illiteracy, low living standards, poverty, pollution, environmental problems, and economic and social issues. 
The solutions to these problems are apparent in the smaller family sizes. Raza emphasizes that the media can be crucial in drawing attention to these national issues and urging people to plan their families according to their resources.

In a nutshell, the socioeconomic challenges of the labour class hinder their awareness of planning families as per their economic abilities. It results in larger family sizes, enhanced economic vulnerabilities, and complicated family and social life. To improve the lives of labourers, they must be aware of wisely choosing the size of their families, which they can do by taking available services around them.

The author is a social activist and working for the reproductive health rights of women in rural Pakistan.

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Pakistani Rupee exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 28 May 2024

Pakistani currency rates against US Dollar and other currencies on May 28, 2024 (Tuesday) in open market.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.25 for selling.

Euro stands at 298 for buying and 301 for selling while British Pound rate is 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.25 and Saudi Riyal increased to 73.45.

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.4 280.25
Euro EUR 298 301
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.25 75.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.45 74.2
Australian Dollar AUD 183 184.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.03 748.03
Canadian Dollar CAD 203 205
China Yuan CNY 38.42 38.82
Danish Krone DKK 40.44 40.84
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.62 35.97
Indian Rupee INR 3.35 3.46
Japanese Yen JPY 1.91 1.99
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 904.07 913.07
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.05 59.65
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.03 172.03
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.92 26.22
Omani Riyal OMR 723.64 731.64
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.42 77.12
Singapore Dollar SGD 203 205
Swedish Korona SEK 26.02 26.32
Swiss Franc CHF 304.75 307.25
Thai Bhat THB 7.6 7.75

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