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Lifesaving Choice in Pakistan

This year in Pakistan, the world’s sixth most populous country, nearly 8,000 women will die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and almost 400,000 children won’t survive to see their fifth birthday.

We know it doesn’t have to be this way. So does Dr. Ammarah Hassan.

“As a girl, I wanted to do good for Pakistan,” says Dr. Hassan, a medical officer in Punjab. “Today, I provide services for healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy. I know how critical it is for a mother’s health and life.”


Dr. Hassan is passionate about ensuring women have choices to prevent frequent, unwanted pregnancies and to protect their children. That’s why it was painful to turn women away.

“Women asked me for contraceptive implants, but I was not familiar with such a modern method.” Why did women want implants so badly?

Here’s why: This tiny progestin-releasing rod inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm can prevent pregnancy for up to five years. An implant offers many benefits: it’s discreet, it doesn’t require frequent trips to a distant health center for a new supply, and its effects are completely reversible. If a woman chooses to become pregnant again, it is easily removed.

Implants are among the most effective contraceptive methods available—180 times more effective than pills* and 360 times more effective than condoms.

This is an option no woman should be forced to go without. The women of Pakistan have a right to the knowledge and health care they need.

Before her training from Pathfinder, Dr. Hassan could only offer women methods like pills or condoms. Today that has changed.



Women are counseled on contraceptive methods, including IUDs and implants, by 1,300 Pathfinder-trained community health workers.

Men in 24 districts are creating a supportive environment for family planning thanks to the work of 2,200 religious leaders trained by Pathfinder. Religious leaders hold meetings, facilitated by Pathfinder, and share a transformative lesson: healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy is not irreligious; it is essential for a family’s future.

“No longer must women travel to other cities for the methods they want,” she says. “I can help them. Through my training from Pathfinder, I gained knowledge and skills. I learned how to provide implants. Now I am confident—I can give all of the choices to my clients.”

Ammarah Hassan is fulfilling a dream she’s had since childhood. “A healthy mother means a healthy nation.”

“On behalf of the people of Pakistan, I want to say thank you.”

Pathfinder thanks the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, BoldeReach, and individual donors for making this possible.

*Based on women’s typical use

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