25 May 2012

Tanzania: Clerics Laud NGOs for Safe Motherhood Bill

CLERICS have hailed the civil society for coming up with the draft Safe Motherhood Bill, saying the proposed law will improve welfare of the people.

The clerics told the 'Daily News' on the sidelines of a consultative meeting on the Bill, that moral decay in the society was among the reasons for unacceptably high maternal and infant mortality.

The meeting has been organised by Care International in collaboration with the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) and White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.

"So many girls are coming into churches claiming that they have been abandoned by their partners, they are so devastated and so end up doing abortion.

"In such a situation we need a law that will hold accountable responsible persons," said the General Secretary of Morovian Church, Rev Adolf Mwakanyale.

Sheikh Mohammed Khamis from the Tanzania Muslim Council (BAKWATA) supported the move by NGOs to come up with the draft Bill on safe motherhood that would oversee all issues related to reproductive health.

"We are in a situation where children give birth to children. The proposed law sets up the right age for marriage and how to deal with people who have sexually aggressive to children," he said.

The Senior Pastor with the Magomeni Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Jonas Singo, said he was moved by the statistics that 19 women die everyday during delivery. The General Secretary of Presbyterian Church, Rev Freddie Kyara noted that the draft Bill has come at a time when it is needed most.

The proposed law is intended to promote the rights of mothers and adolescents in accessing reproductive health services. It has various provisions which address issues of access to contraceptives and family planning, maternal and new born health as well as sexual and reproductive health of adolescents.

Others include, termination of pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, harmful practices affecting sexual and reproductive health.

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