27 April 2016

Tanzania: Why Family Planning Services Must Be Available to All

opinion

The Lake Zone has the lowest contraceptive prevalence rates (CPR) and highest maternal and child death. However, the use of CPR in this area is increasing every day due to education provided on family planning.

The population growth at Buchosa Municipal Council, Sengerema District in Mwanza Region is 33,758 where only 8,525 are using modern contraceptives methods of family planning. Thus, modern contraceptives usage is higher compared to previous records. The methods would help to control higher fertility rate in the villages where the total fertility rate is 5-7 per women.

The number of women using modern contraceptives methods of family planning at Nyahunge village, Buchosa Municipal council is higher compared to previous trends where only 1 male has used family planning.

The residents say that family planning is very important as it helps reduce population growth. "Since the coming of various organizations in the village many residents are aware of family planning.

Earlier on, we were not educated on how to use contraceptives methods of family planning, that affects our lives as population growth is very higher," Ms Paulina Masige said. "We thank Marie Stopes and other organizations that put efforts in ensuring many people in the village have been educated well on family planning. The extension of family planning work has been possible through the involvement of government and voluntary agencies in clinical services.

Marie Stopes has found it necessary to extend its educational programmes to the remotest areas in order to create awareness to the people on family planning.

Speaking during a training on family planning to over 200 residents at Nyehunge village, Buchosa Municipal council in Mwanza Region last week, health officer at Nyahunge health centre Mr Alex Makuli said the number of mothers in Nyegunge health centre who are aware on the use of family planning methods has increased.

He said maternal and child deaths are high in the village so they made sure all women were educated well on the importance of using family planning. "We educate them every month, the education provided by health specialists at the hospital in collaboration with Marie Stopes, the institution that has been providing education on family planning for a long time" Mr Makuli said.

He explained that, family planning would help to improve living standard of women in the villages as they would now be aware on how to avoid pregnancy for the benefit of all. The Director of Chaseso municipal council Mr Crispin Luanda said it is better to have a ratio between population growth and economic growth in the country. He said that the only way of achieving this is by providing education on family planning to women's in the villages.

"The government has planned to come up with strategies of reducing maternal mortality deaths in the country due to that some organizations started to create awareness on the benefits of using contraception methods of family planning in order to achieve the goal," he explained.

"The use of family planning would help to create awareness to women's as they reduced number of newborns that does not relate with the economic growth within their areas," the Director said.

He called upon other organizations and various stakeholders to join hands on creating awareness to Tanzanians on family planning. "We invite other organizations to join with Marie Stopes in ensuring rural people have been educated well on the use of contraceptives methods of family planning, in order to prevent mortality death and they will be able to manage their families," he revealed.

He said that a population growth needs enough social services that fulfill all people in a certain place. The government has fully committed and ready to use all possible means of avoiding the unacceptably high maternal and child mortality, including the most cost effective mean of promoting family planning methods usage.

Buchosa is a new municipal council divided from Sengerema District in Mwanza Region. Over 33,000 people have benefited from the services provided at Nyehunge health centre.

For a long time now, this centre has been providing education to women and men on family planning. We have 3,643 Nyehunge residents using family planning out of them only 1 is a man who is using family planning in the village, head of Nyehunge health centre Dr John Kitatuna said. He said, the biggest challenges facing Nyehunge health centre is lack of a building as the population growth is high to cater for all people in the area.

Lazaro Herizon is a father of five children and one wife he is the only man who agreed to use family planning in the village. "I' m 57 years old now. I decided to join family planning programme in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies" he said," adding: "I have eight years of family planning." He added that since he started to use family planning his life had changed as he was able to provide all basic needs to his family.

In 1989 the Government launched its first National Family Planning program. By that time, Contraceptives Prevalence Rate (CPR), was estimated at about 5 per cent mainly due to UMATI's efforts.

The golden years for Family Planning in Tanzania (1990's) The National Family Planning Green Star campaign which was launched in May 1993 created a brand recognition and raised community awareness on family planning.

It also increased demand for services that remains stronger today. Following the official launch of the National Family Planning "Green Star" campaign: high demand for services, intense and high quality training of Health care providers, availability of commodities and strong logistics system, linking supply with demand where several efforts were made to create awareness among community members.

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