ZIMBABWE has progressed in availing modern contraceptive methods to its population from 42% percent in 1994 to 67% in 2018, while the fertility rate has declined from 4.3% to 4 percent in 2018, the 2019 State of the World Population (SWOP) report has revealed.
By Michael Gwarisa
Giving the findings of the SWOP 2019 report, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Director, Mr Charles Mujajati said it was government’s mandate to ensure they are growing the economy faster than they are growing the population and the only way that can be attained is by controlling the population growth rate.
In 1994, we are saying globally the rate was 52% and in 2018 it was at 58 %. That is an increase and remember as for the issue of contraceptives, we are trying to manage the growth rate so that we get a population that we can manage to support.
“In the case if Zimbabwe, in 1994, remember 1994 was the year of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), in Zimbabwe the modern contraceptive rate was at 42 % and in 2018 it was at 67%. The total fertility rate was at 4.3% in 1994 and 4 percent in 2018,” said Mr Mujajati.
Globally the, the total fertility rate was 2.9 in 1994 to 2,5% in 2018. However, the adolescent birth rate has gone up in Zimbabwe, a situation which exposes the huge unfinished business with regards to availing contraceptives and Sexual Reproductive Health Services and Rights (SRHR) to young people.
“When we look at the adolescent birth rate globally per 1000 girls, we are looking at the age of 15 to 19. Globally in 1994, it was 58.2% and in 2018 it has gone to 44%, which means globally there was a decrease, but in our case for Zimbabwe, in 1994 it was at 99% now it has grown to 110% so there we have some work to do.”
Even though maternal mortality has gone down globally, for Zimbabwe, the numbers are still going up. According to the SWOP 2019, maternal deaths per 100 000 live births was at 283 in 1994 but has gone up to 651 in 2018.
Standing in for United Nations resident coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli, World Food Program (WFP) Zimbabwe Representative and Country Director Mr Eddie Rowe applauded the work the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been doing in championing access to contraceptives programs through out the country.
“This year, we also celebrate 25 years of commitments made at the ICPD in Egypt in1994. The commitment made at this conference known as the ICPD program of actions is what has grounded the work of UNFPA
“The journey that has taken us here has been a long arduous one. Trough UNFPA programs, real choices became a reality for more and more women in developing countries and as result, women started having fewer children and millions were finally gaining the power to control their own fertility,” said Mr Rowe.
He added that the ICPD in Cairo, Egypt proved to be the turning point for UNFPA which has to date empowered women through availing access to a range of SRHR services that have made women realise their worth, needs and rights.
UNFPA Country Representative, Ester Muia said the SWOP 2019 report comes at a time the UNFPA is commemorating 50 years of addressing Population and Development concerns as well at the 25 years of commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action Post Cairo in 1994. The SWOP report traces advances in reproductive health on the anniversaries of two important milestones. It has been 50 years since UNFPA began operations in 1969 as the first United Nations agency to address population growth and reproductive health needs.
“Our partnership with the Zimbabwean Government began in 1981 with support to the 1982 population census. Since then our partnership has strengthened over the years through various programs centred Population and Development with a lens on women and girls. We value this great cooperation and may it continue to grow.
“The title for this year’s State of the World Population Report is “Unfinished business: the pursuit of rights and choices for all” is showing that there is progress in the attainment of reproductive health and rights by women, young people, especially girls but that there is still unfinished business – I was very pleased to hear this acknowledgement by the Government through the Minister here present. We must now run together to finish the last mile which, often times, is the most difficult.”
Meanwhile, according to the SWOP 2019 report, much has been achieved since 1969. However, reproductive rights are still out of reach for too many women, including the more than 200 million women who want to prevent a pregnancy but cannot access modern contraceptive information and services.