Muhammad Atif Ali
Following are my contributions / achievements in family planning:-
1. I was awarded "Best Officer" award from Chief Minister, Punjab in March 2013 in recognition of outstanding contribution in Family Planning.
2. In 2006, I was awarded with MEASURE Evaluation Fellowship by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Population Center to pursue International Masters in Population and Reproductive Health Research at Institute for Population and Social Research at Mahidol University, Thailand.
3. In 2005 I was awarded an international fellowship of Leadership Development Mechanism (LDM), a joint venture of Packard Foundation, USA and Institute of International Education (IIE), San Francisco USA.
4. Population Welfare Department recognized my research work on family planning in 2012.
During my first work with Family Planning Association of Pakistan in 2001, i realized the need of family planning for a developing nation like Pakistan. Since then, i have worked with UNICEF at International Level during 2006-2008 and worked on MNCH & HIV/AIDS, which are also closely related to Family Planning. My 10-years work with Population Welfare Department, Government of Punjab has provided me an opportunity to fulfill my passion. This is where i am trying to make innovations.
The biggest challenge in family planning for me was to overcome resistance from religious community. To counter this challenge, i developed a comprehensive Information, Education and Counselling (IEC) Plan to be implemented at the Provincial and District levels. This plan contains advocacy and behavior change activities. I shared this plan with higher management and it was approved. This IEC plan is being implemented and it is providing us with desired results at the District level.
For a country like Pakistan, behavior change of masses especially religious fractions has always been a gigantic challenge for family planning efforts. This challenge is universal throughout in Pakistan. To overcome this issue, comprehensive advocacy plan may yield desired results. The National Population Policy of Pakistan addresses this issue. Similarly higher literacy rates can also minimize the effects of this challenge.
My plan for next five years is to work out a Comprehensive Advocacy Policy for family planning in Pakistan. I have set this target for myself by keeping in view the fact that population of Pakistan is going to be doubled in next 35 years. To reduce Population Growth Rate (PGR) of Pakistan to replacement level is the need of the hour. I want to present such a policy that ensures rapid reduction in unplanned Population growth.