In Pakistan, the Population Council is partnering with the Government and international development partners to generate evidence on the effects of COVID-19 on the health system, and its consequent impacts on marginalized populations, including poor women.

The Council’s research in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab, helped illuminate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the provision of critical maternal health and family planning services, and documented the effects of disrupted services at the beginning of the pandemic for both poor women as well as health service providers, helping shape the early response.


Reproductive Healthcare During COVID-19 in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab

In partnership with UNFPA, the Council uncovered urgently needed evidence about the reproductive health and family planning needs of poor women and health care providers during COVID-19. Conducted in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab, this study was among our first to employ focus group discussions and in-depth interviews over the phone during the pandemic lockdowns.

COVID-19 and the Opportunity for a Demographic Research Reset

The Population Council’s Pakistan Country Director Dr. Zeba Sathar contributed this essay in Population and Development Review calling on researchers and demographers to reexamine trends in mortality and fertility in light of emerging new demographic norms and behaviors as a result of the pandemic to remain responsive to new realities.


Two briefs from the mixed-methods study based on interviews with women and health service providers in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab showcase key findings on Family Planning and Reproductive Health Needs and Challenges and Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and Challenges of Healthcare Workers during COVID-19.

In Dawn, Population Council Pakistan Country Director, Dr. Zeba Sathar, urges prioritization of family planning services as an essential part of health services during the pandemic.