TANZANIA seeks to double the number of people who use contraceptives for family planning from the current 2.1 million to 4.2 million people by the year 2020, Vice-President, Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, has declared.
This will be made possible through adequate and timely provisions of contraceptives and public awareness on family planning among other measures, according to Dr Bilal.
The vice-president made the remarks in Dar es Salaam yesterday when officiating at a National Family Planning Conference and re-launch of the 'Green Star' campaign. The drive is aimed at fostering family planning in the country. The upshot is to increase the number of people using contraceptives locally.
The move comes at a time when studies have shown that the contraceptive prevalence rate in developing countries is 72.4 per cent, while in Tanzania it is just 27 per cent.
During the London Summit for Family Planning last year world leaders agreed on increasing the number of people on family planning to 120 million by 2020. "In order to achieve the goal extra efforts are required by respective government ministries and development partners," Dr Bilal said.
The VP said the government is committed to increasing the budget for family planning from internal sources and reduce dependency on development partners in a bid to improve efficiency in service delivery.
"I hope during this meeting, which has brought together participants from within and outside the country, you will also deliberate on strategies to enhance partnership between the public and private sectors towards efficiency," Dr Bilal told participants at the meeting.
The VP stressed that family planning is crucial in lessening maternal, infant and child mortality rates as well as teen pregnancies. Speaking earlier at the occasion, the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, said that proper use of family planning methods could reduce maternal mortality rates by between 20 and 35 per cent and 10 to 12 per cent for children.
Available statistics show that 454 in 100,000 women die each year due to complications at the time of giving birth, the minister noted. "Family planning enables a mother to avoid unexpected pregnancies and thus reduce cases of abortion.
The use of methods such as condoms also helps to check transmission of HIV/AIDS," Dr Mwinyi said. Apart from health benefits, the minister said family planning is also vital checking population growth. The National Housing and Population Census of 2012 showed that Tanzania has a population of about 40 million up from 34 million recorded in 2002.