University students tipped on reproductive health


Students follow the meeting at Gitwe University on friday. / Photos by Francis Byaruhanga

As the population in Rwanda grows, resulting in imbalance of economic variables such as health, nutrition, education, housing and employment, higher learning institutions and students have been urged to steer the movement.

This was observed during an inter-university conference on family planning, sexual and reproductive health, held at University of Gitwe in the Southern Province under the theme; The role of the youth in addressing the high number of unsafe abortions and their complications.

Dr Emmanuel Mbonu Osuagwu, the head of academics and research at Gitwe, said the problem of the population increase which does not link to economic variables is one of the major problems affecting Africa at large.

“The population increase is not only taking root in Rwanda but the whole continent. It’s, therefore, time to enlighten the community on the need for family planning. The youth, especially, varsity students, should be the first to steer the campaign since they are also among the target areas,” he said.

Daphrose Nyirasafari, a sexual reproductive health specialist at United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Rwanda, said that the government cannot fully implement the campaign without other partners; therefore, organisations, as well as faith-based religious parties, should take part in the campaign.

However, according to Hellen Nomujuni, the chairperson of the African Youth Adolescent Network in Rwanda, some parents, especially communities in villages, are not aware of family planning and its purpose, which is why more emphasis should be put on reaching remote areas to sensitise people about the use of contraceptives.

Benjamin Iradukunda, a 2nd year medical student at University of Rwanda’s School of Medicine, says everything comes with a negative side and that the use of contraceptives is also not crystal clear, where some people incur side effects after using pills or injections, among others.

The African economic outlook report of 2015 stated that African population will increase by 40 per cent in the youth between 2015 and 2030 and that in sub-Saharan Africa, the growth of the youth population in this period is projected to exceed 60 per cent.

The Members of the Senatorial Standing Committee on Social Affairs last week called for the revision of the approach on the delivery of family planning services in the country in order to increase its uptake.

The senators were addressing a team of Ministry of Health and UNFPA officials on the Family Planning Technical Working Group.

The team, composed by government as well as local and international representatives, was in the Senate to brief the lawmakers on the government’s work regarding family planning.