THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has implored men to be actively involved in the family planning choices and decisions so as to increase uptake of contraceptives as well as reduce gender based violence at household level.
By Michael Gwarisa
Launching the State of the World Population Report, UNFPA Country Representative Dr. Esther Muia said family planning was not forced on anyone but a choice one makes freely for the good of their health and economic wellbeing.
“The State of the World Population Report (SWOP) is a flagship report published annually by the United Nations Population Fund.
“This year’s report is entitled “The Power of Choice: Reproductive Rights and the Demographic Transition.” Choice is about having the power and means to make your own decisions about whether, when or how often to have children, and how that power affects other choices in life,” said Dr Muia.
She however added that family planning choices should be a collective effort between couples to improve uptake of various contraceptive methods available.
“In developing countries, 671million women have chosen to use modern contraception and 214million women are at risk of unintended pregnancy because their reproductive choices are limited by a lack of modern contraception.
“Let me acknowledge the efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care and Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council, to make choice a reality in this country. I commend the achievement of a 67% Contraceptive Prevalence Rate, considered one of the highest in Africa.”
According to UNFPA, Zimbabwe will soon be meeting its 2020 target of 68%. However, there still is a national unmet need for FP of 10%, particularly amongst adolescents (12.6%) and women over 40 (14%).
“Current efforts through the Ministry of Justice to review the marriage bill with the aim to criminalise child marriages should also be commended. The Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Enterprise Development, working with Parliamentarians, has been key in leading these efforts
Access to choice for girls and young women in Zimbabwe improves their chances of staying in school longer and possible child marriages. This therefore enhancing their ability to exercise choice with their sexual reproductive health throughout their lives. They become more able to decide on the size and timing of their families at the same remaining economically active,” Dr Muia.
Meanwhile, UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem said, “Choice can change the world. It can rapidly improve the well- being of women and girls, transform families, and accelerate global development.”
Although Zimbabwe has made significant progress to reach it population with FP services there still remain challenges to reach women and girls especially those in rural communities. There is still a national unmet need for FP of 10%, particularly amongst adolescents (12.6%) and women over 40 (14%).
“Government remains committed to the provision of Family planning services. Efforts are underway to ensure the country meets it 2020 target of 68%. We call on their support of all our partners to make this a reality,” said ZNFPC Executive Director Dr. Munyaradzi Murwira