Wednesday, October 26

Pakistanis ignorant on sex affairs

A three-day training of trainers’ workshop on ‘Strengthening Quality of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Care in Mobile Setting,’ was held at a local hotel.
The workshop was organised by the Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP) in collaboration with the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada (PPFC). The service providers, that is, medical doctors, SRH counsellors and Lady Health Visitors (LHV) participated from all the four provinces. The purpose of the workshop was to improve the quality of the SRH Care being provided to the target population, that is, five lac people of six districts of Pakistan, for the last five years.
Speaking on the occasion DG Reproductive Health Management Division of FPAP Dr. Anjum Akhtar said the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada (PPFC) was a national network of organisations that provide leadership in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and around the world. "As part of its international programming, the PPFC is currently implementing a Community Based Reproductive Health Extension Project (CBRHEP) in Pakistan in partnership with FPAP, funded through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) bilateral programme for Pakistan. The CBRHEP brings family planning and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services to approximately 336,000 youth, women, and men beneficiaries in 30 selected sites in 6 districts of Pakistan, including Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Quetta and Kohat," she added. She emphasised that gender and biology, among other determinants, affect people’s access to health in different ways, CBRHEP’s Gender Equality Strategy accords a high priority to these determinants as key considerations in the work to ensure equal access to quality of care.
Dr. Anjum Akhtar announced that QoC manual is prepared primarily for CBRHEP teams of female and male medical doctors, counselors, community educators and Lady Health Visitors (LHVs), who were providing information about reproductive health and rights to men, women, youth, local teachers, youth workers, civil society organisations and government. "Comprehensive reproductive health services being provided at community doorsteps, includes family planning, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, information and screening for reproductive cancers, counselling about menstruation, infertility, menopausal problems and safe motherhood services; offered in an integrated manner with general primary health care for women and children in rural areas," she added.
Trainers of the workshop Rafiq Jaffar said reproductive health was a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive health system and to its functions and processes. "Reproductive health implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so," he said. He emphasised that implicit in this last condition were the rights of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which were not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health care services that would enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.
Mr. Jaffar told the participants that healthy sexuality is a positive and life affirming part of being human. It includes knowledge of self, opportunities for healthy sexual development and sexual experience, the capacity for intimacy, an ability to share relationships, and comfort with different expressions of sexuality including love, joy, caring, sensuality, or celibacy. Our attitudes about sexuality, our ability to understand and accept our own sexuality, to make healthy choices and respect the choices of others, are essential aspects of who we are and how we interact with our world.
He further expressed that Reproductive rights were internationally recognised human rights. "Although sexual and reproductive health is a key part of an individual’s overall health and well being. Pakistanis continue to less access to accurate, non-judgmental SRH information and services. Health care providers frequently neglect to discuss sexuality issues when talking to patients," he added. "There are high rates of negative outcomes associated with sexual activity, including unintended pregnancies, unprotected sexual contact, sexually transmitted infections, adults sexual dysfunction and unhealthy relationships. Access to sexual health information and services can help prevent these problems and foster healthy outcomes. Quality of care should be provided to all without discrimination. People with diverse sexual orientations, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (Hijras) persons should equally benefit from quality SRH services being provided at mobile clinic settings," he maintained.
He disclosed that there was evidence that various elements of reproductive and sexual healthcare were strongly interrelated and that improvement in one element may result in gains in another. Family planning, in particular, has a significant impact on other areas of reproductive health, especially in terms of safe motherhood and child survival, preventing STIs/HIV/AIDS and reducing the need for abortion.
During the three days activity, the participants conducted various presentation sessions, activities and role-plays to demonstrate the clients’ rights and providers’ needs issues in the rural settings of Pakistan, with reference Sexual and Reproductive Health needs of the target population.
At the end of the activity the accomplishment certificates were awarded to the participants.
October 22, 2005

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