29 March 2013

Rwanda: Health Ministry Takes Over Family Planning Project

Photo: Felicity Thompson/IRIN
Pregnant women (file photo): 47 percent of all pregnancies in the country are unintended.

THE Ministry of Health has taken over the FAM Project, a family planning project that has been operational in the country.

The 11-year project which cost $ 2,718,000 had a goal of increasing access to and use of Fertility Awareness-based Methods such as the Standard Days Method, the Two Day Method and the Lactational Amenorrhea Method.

Susan Igras, an official from the Institute of Reproductive Health at Georgetown University, said the Standards Days Method of family planning, was developed and tested in Rwanda in 2002 and was scaled up to all health facilities when proven effective in 2004.

"This method was introduced to all districts in Rwanda. According to a survey we carried out five months ago, five percent of all women using family planning in Rwanda opt for this method. We are glad that we have achieved our mission here in Rwanda and certain that the ministry will continue with the good job to improve maternal health and family planning in Rwanda," Igras said.

Dr Anicet Nzabonimpa, the In charge of Family Planning and HIV integration programme in the Ministry of Health said the project helped in the introduction and integration of an effective method of family planning.

"We shall continue to ensure that the implementation of effective family planning methods in Rwanda continues according to the vision of Rwanda and the Ministry of Health Strategic Plan," he said.

If a woman has more than one cycle per year that is shorter than 26 days, or longer than 32 days, the Standard Days Method's effectiveness decreases significantly and a different method of natural family planning should be used. This method, through this project, has since then been expanded to other countries such as Burundi, Tanzania, Mali, Ghana, Uganda and DRC, among others. It was developed by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University.

Fifty two per cent of women in Rwanda use contraceptives; 45 per cent use modern contraceptives, while the 6 per cent use traditional methods, according to the latest Demographic Health Survey report.

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