President Arif Alvi recently shared a video on Twitter that got a lot of people talking. The video is about family planning and reproduction and urged people to destigmatise these topics for a healthier Pakistan.
"National health has a very deep connection to mother and child health. We should be giving priority to things that are important. Practice family planning for prosperity. Keep a check on the number of children. Make good health a reality. Don’t ignore this topic. Discuss it and spread the message. The informational video covers a range of social issues represented by different characters of the working class who are discouraged and disregarded for their efforts due to the associated stigma around the aforementioned topic of family planning and the wellbeing of individuals involved in the process," he wrote in Urdu.
This isn't the first time President Alvi has spoken about the importance of family planning. In June, he said there is a need to educate people about family planning and monitoring the growing population in the country.
The informational video he shared covers a range of social issues represented by different characters who are discouraged and disregarded for their efforts due to the associated stigma around the topic of family planning and the wellbeing of individuals involved in the process. It illustrates how people often bury their heads in the sand when it comes to conversations about family planning or reproduction. The brown paper bags or khaki lifafey used in the video convey people's embarrassment and shame when it comes to talking about this very important issue.
The video's tagline is "Soch ko khaki lifafey se azaad karo, baat karo [liberate your thoughts from the brown paper bag, talk about it."
There is also a constant reiteration for everyone to be equally present in the discussion whether it is a young girl trying to ask her teacher a question during anatomy class or a wife trying to introduce family planning alternatives to her husband.
There was a lot of support for the initiative and the president's words on Twitter. People hope it will finally ignite a much-needed conversation regarding an issue that is often brushed aside in shame and embarrassment.
Many users said it is important to share this campaign on other popular media platforms besides Twitter as well.
We're so glad to see the president using his platform to spread information and awareness about a very important cause. In Pakistan, people often turn the other way when it comes to talking about reproduction and family planning. Most young women in Pakistan are familiar with brown paper bags — we're often told to hide our period products in them, as if they're shameful. But there is no shame in talking about reproduction and health and, as the video says, we need to get rid of the figurative brown paper bags when it comes to important discussions.
The president's support for this campaign comes in the lead up to World Contraception Day on September 26 and despite his message having its fair share of detractors, we hope it starts a conversation among the people who need it most.