22 February 2013

Zambia: First Lady Launches Family Planning Drive

FIRST Lady Christine Kaseba yesterday launched the National Family Planning campaign aimed at scaling up the use of contraceptives among women to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

Dr Kaseba said during the launch in Lusaka that it was unfortunate that family planning was being misunderstood by many women resulting into myths and misconceptions.

She said access to contraceptives in Zambia was very low, leading to the high rate of unplanned and unintended pregnancies especially in rural area.

"Sadly many of the affected are young girls and young women who end up giving up on their education, shattering their dreams and some becoming trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, while some die or suffer untold disability," she said.

The launch of the National Family Planning Campaign is a culmination of the summit that was held in London in July, last year.

At the summit, governments, donors, civil society and other stakeholder came together to support the rise of women and girls to freely decide whether and when to have children.

Stakeholders at the London summit mobilised resources to help developing countries to reach out to 120 million more women and girls access and practise contraception in eight years.

Community Development Mother and Child Health Minister Joseph Katema said the myths about family planning were negatively affecting the campaign.

Dr Katema said it was more disappointing that the myths were sometimes being perpetuated by health service providers themselves.

Department for International Development (DFID) deputy head of office Malcom Geere said it was unfortunate that almost half of the pregnancies in Zambia were unplanned which contributed to high maternal death rates.

He said DFID had committed K18.5 million towards training of Government health providers and improving outreach services in rural areas .

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