Although family planning programming has been ongoing in Pakistan for nearly 50 years, 20 percent of women have unmet need, fertility remains high at 3.8 children per woman, and only 35 percent of married couples today are using a contraceptive method.1 Compared with other countries in the region, Pakistan’s fertility transition has been extremely slow, and the goal of achieving a 55 percent contraceptive prevalence by 2020, committed at the 2012 London Summit, remains far from reach. With demographic pressures exacerbating the already critical development issues facing the country, there is an urgent need to redouble family planning efforts and to address the gaps presently compromising its effectiveness.
One such gap is the exclusion of men from family planning programming. While Pakistan’s health and population systems have multiple options for women to discuss family planning and obtain services, far fewer opportunities exist for men. Family planning is widely perceived as a woman’s concern: programs most often target women, and “family planning communication” evokes the image of a campaign to encourage women to use contraception.