Rwanda: Imbuto, RBC Draw New Reproductive Health Plan

22 November 2019

Imbuto Foundation and Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) have unveiled a policy aimed to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, promote family planning as well as tackle teenage pregnancies.

The policy, which was launched on Thursday November 21, 2019 seeks to encourage family promotion and development.

Dubbed Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Policy (RMNCAH), also seeks to raise awareness, and foster intersectoral cooperation as innovation in addressing the challenges related to these issues.

The policy contains two other sub policies, including adolescent sexual reproductive health/ family planning policy and another on maternal and neonatal child health.

The first sub policy will focus on promoting family planning practices while the second will reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and reduce stunting.

The policy, according to officials, will tackle challenges of lack of youth-friendly services, overlapping of various processes due to inadequate planning.

The entire project is projected to cost Rwf50.2 billion.

The policy targets the reduction of fertility rate from 4.2 per cent to 3.3 per cent.

It also aims at reducing the unmet need of family planning facilities from 19 per cent to 15 per cent by 2024 and reducing teenage pregnancies from 7.3 per cent.

The Deputy Director-General, Imbuto Foundation, Geraldine Umutesi, said this new policy is focused on synchronisation and providing adolescent-friendly services.

Eliphaz Karamage, an Adolescent Health Officer at Rwanda Biometric Board (RBC), said this policy was informed by research.

Nadine Umutoni Gatsinzi, the City of Kigali Vice Mayor in Charge of Social Economic Affairs, the move is part of the aim to promote a peaceful, stable and empowered society.

She also stressed that low use of family planning methods had several negative results that go beyond teenage pregnancy such as social and economic hardships.

"Rwandans should know that this is their responsibility as much as it is for the government. They should also think of solutions independently instead of solely relying on what the government plans to address the issues like proper reproductive health," she said.

United Nations Population Fund's Daforosa Nyirasafari, encouraged Rwandans to support family planning and emphasised the need for more awareness on the topic.

"Some people do not understand that contraceptives like any other drug may have some side effects at first that go away with time. As a result, they are impatient and discontinue the use of these contraceptives which are otherwise of a good benefit."

Parents were also encouraged to openly discuss reproductive health issues with their children.

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