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Pledge to Practice

“If the woman we treat for Postabortion complications is there because she could not get contraception we have failed her. If she leaves without family planning we have failed her twice.” (1994, Postabortion Care Consortium, ICPD, Cairo) Many women in Pakistan are sadly suffering from ill-health or are dying, with every passing hour and every passing day, from PREVENTABLE maternal health related complications. Pakistan has a high maternal mortality ratio of 276 maternal deaths (per 100,000 live births). Available data implies that approximately 1 in 89 women in Pakistan will die of maternal causes putting Pakistan way behind other developing countries such as Bangladesh and Malaysia. Facts and figures reveal that: Many of these maternal deaths occur due to the lack of necessary skills or environment to manage the complications that arise as a result of a spontaneous (miscarriage) or/and induced abortion (both constituting unsafe abortion). In Pakistan, 6 percent of the maternal deaths are attributed to Postabortion complications such as sepsis or hemorrhage and it is estimated that complications from unsafe abortion account for 13% of all maternal deaths worldwide. Apart from maternal deaths, unsafe abortions are a cause of ill-health among many women. A study in Pakistan indicates that almost 200,000 women are hospitalized each year due to complications from unsafe abortions, a harm which is largely preventable. The complications reduce women’s productivity, increase the economic burden on poor families, leave children motherless, and cause long-term health problems, such as infertility. Pakistan made a commitment to prevent this death and illness in the landmark pledge, the Karachi Declaration. Signed in 2009 by the Ministries of Health and Population Welfare, the pledge vows to work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals 4, 5a and 5b, by scaling up best practices for maternal, newborn and child health and family planning. Among other priorities, the Karachi Declaration resolves to institutionalize Postabortion care (PAC) “in policies, guidelines, protocols and standards for health facilities at national level.” While efforts have been made by both the private and public sector to improve Postabortion care in Pakistan, the pledge made in the Karachi Declaration is yet to translate into policies resulting in standardized quality health services on the ground. Geared towards this objective, Marie Stopes Society has initiated a 23-month advocacy initiative: ‘Pledge to Practice’, funded by the Maternal and Newborn Health Research and Advocacy Fund. In collaboration with other allies in the public and private sector, our advocacy on Postabortion care includes:

  • Raising awareness and sensitivity about this issue
  • Identifying barriers and solutions to implementing best practices
  • Evoking accountability of government officials and policy makers

It is our vision that dedicated advocacy efforts will help in making sure that quality postabortion services are available to every woman in Pakistan, thereby fulfilling our commitment to reducing maternal health complications and mortality, and leading to optimum health for women and their families. Download Brochure of Pledge To Practice With multiple partners working on PAC and other initiatives that determines the RH impact on women lives, it became imperative that we undertook a mapping exercise to determine the strategic direction and future vision of this work. A Mapping Meeting, in this regard, was held on the 14th of June 2012 at Marriot, Karachi. The outcome of this meeting was a Mapping Matrix. This matrix is a live document: The project team hosted a “Mapping Meeting” with various partner organizations. Given the momentum and acceleration in the field of PAC and other initiatives that determine the RH impact on women lives i.e. early age marriage campaign and with multiple partners on the landscape, it became imperative that we undertook a mapping exercise to determine the strategic direction and future vision of this work. This meeting resulted in a mapping matrix which stated the areas in which various organizations are currently working. Moreover, it also shed light on the existing partnerships of each organization. RAF Mapping Matrix