Farooq Ahmad

Farooq Ahmad - 2016 Nominee
Position: Communications Officer
Organization: Population Council, Pakistan
Farooq is an important member of team working to obtain support of political leadership, media professionals and religious community to achieve family health and well being goals. – Seemin Ashfaq, Director Communications at Population Council
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Spent 15 years working towards increased family planning and reproductive health uptake in Pakistan. Currently, at Population Council, contributing communications, policy, and advocacy efforts for a UNFPA-funded project. Being member of project’s team, contributing advocacy efforts to gain support from and building champions among religious scholars, media professionals, and federal and provincial parliamentarians. Before Population Council, I worked in social marketing at Young & Rubicam Pakistan, developed BCC / advocacy strategy for Ministry of Population welfare and other key stakeholders. I also worked as resource person to build capacity of Population Welfare Department ’s officers from all over Pakistan and delivered lectures on “Communication Strategy and Maximizing Reach.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

We can reduce highest IMR/MMR in Pakistan by promoting the benefits of birth spacing to married couples. current CPR stands at 35% and unmet need 20%, by simply addressing unmet, we can reduce MMR significantly and also achieve FP2020 commitment and also contribute to achieve number of goals set in SDGs. I am deeply convinced and intended to promote FP as strategic tool to save mothers and child and to bring back Pakistan on path of progress and overall prosperity.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

Low political commitment for family planning was biggest challenge. During my stay at Y&R I have directed 200 episodes of live weekly radio program “online family clinic” telecast from FM 100 network targeting key legislators, policymakers such as District nazims, tehshil nazims, and district population welfare officers. I also helped the Ministry of Population Welfare in organizing World Population Day 2011 in Islamabad at which Prime Minister of Pakistan declared 2011 as “Population Year.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

Biggest Challenge is; How to address unmet need? addressed through; Sustained political commitment to ensure that Family Planning remains a priority for the government ; Male involvement is critical factors; Religious leaders be involved in community mobilization activities to change the mindset of the common people; The Lady Health Workers Program be strengthened to enhance service provision at the door step; Service providers need to be trained in FP counseling, management of side effects.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I sincerely feel communication and advocacy is the key tool to address issues related to access and quality of FP services. I am intended to focus advocacy efforts at district level to gain support from local government, district administration, and other stakeholders. By setting some smart and time bound objectives at various districts of Pakistan then we can not only achieve district, but provincial, and national level goals related to family health and well being in Pakistan.

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