15 January 2013

Tanzania: Plea for LGA to Budget for Reproductive Health

LOCAL Government Authorities (LGAs) have been challenged to start allocating budgets for the promotion of reproductive health services with current trends showing 75 per cent of their budgets come from donor funds while 25 per cent is from the central government.

According to a recent survey by Marie Stopes Tanzania (MST), an international organization providing family planning and reproductive health services in the country for more than 20 years, a lot needs to be done to roll out family planning services in the country.

Speaking to reporters, the NGO's Country Director, Ms Ulla Muller, said all stakeholders should support the government and President Jakaya Kikwete's recent call for Tanzanians to increase family planning methods in order to control the rapid population growth the country has experienced in the last ten years.

She said her organization would always support the government to realise its vision of ensuring 60 per cent of the population gets access to family planning services by 2015 although that needs serious financial commitment.

"MST is committed to work with the government, community members and all reproductive health partners to make this happen and we hereby call for local government authorities to prioritize family planning by increasing their local budgets," she said.Recently, when announcing preliminary results of the national population and housing census, President Kikwete emphasized on the importance of the country to use family planning methods in order to reduce rapid population growth.

"We would like to congratulate the president for his commendable action to sensitize Tanzanians to adopt family planning methods in order to reduce avoidable life challenges," she said.Running family planning and reproductive health services is not an easy task, according to Ms Muller, as MST spends about 10 million US dollars (about 15bn/-) annually for that task but needs at least three times the amount to reach more people in need of the services.

MST Head of Clinical Services, Dr Nsiima Mushumba said women have to be careful with unsafe family planning methods like unsafe abortions which cost lives of 19 per cent of all women deaths in the country.

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