29 September 2012

Tanzania: Family Planning From Woman's View Vital

Photo: UN Photo
A mother and her newborn child. Family planning has been said to be a key determinant of development.

THE co-founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has urged that family planning issues should be viewed from a woman's perspective and give the issues urgency and importance.

Ms Melinda Gates said this at a forum for action in Dar es Salaam this week, expressing her satisfaction on the dedication of experts to fulfill the London Summit on family planning commitments aimed at scaling up mothers' access to contraceptives.

"When I remember the mothers I have visited in Tanzania and the stories behind their faces, then it only makes more sense that when we start viewing family planning issues from a woman's perspective, we can handle them with great prudence," she said.

She was attending the Agricultural Green Revolution Forum in Tanzania and spoke briefly in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday at a meeting under the theme "Advocacy to Action; Calling for National Leadership in Family Planning to Fulfill the London Summit Commitments." Melinda Gates said she was gratified to see a number of experts from different countries in the world, particularly from Africa, meeting in Dar es Salaam to ensure that actions are taken to achieve the commitments.

In response to a question from 'Daily News' here on Thursday, on how the subject can be related to agriculture, she spoke of her conversations with women in the agricultural sector who stressed the importance of family planning in their lives as farmers.

The meeting was organised by the Advance Family Planning Consortium, led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.The effort is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and in Tanzania, the Human Development Trust and Centre for Communication Programmes in collaboration with a number of policymakers and NGOs on the mainland and in Zanzibar.

Started in 2009, the consortium is an evidence-based advocacy initiative that aims to increase resources and political commitment for quality family planning programmes, contributing to the achievement of the vision of the July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.The consortium's vision is to enable women and girls in some of the world's poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020.

The Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Regina Kikuli told the meeting in Dar es Salaam that government funds would be allocated at community level to ensure the contraceptives prevalence rate goes up from 20 per cent to 60 per cent in next three years.

"The ministry in collaboration with the Prime Minister's Office, Regions and Local Government Authorities will set aside a budget every year for this issue," she said.

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