The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lilianne Ploumen, and the executive director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, on Tuesday, visited Rwamagana District to assess the state of family planning in the district.
The officials, who are leading a group of delegates from the Netherlands and UNFPA, first visited Rwamagana District pharmacy to examine its procurement and supply chain management.
There, they inspected the contraceptives in stock, the supply chain management from central warehouse to beneficiaries, electronic logistic management information system (ELMIS) and the involvement in quantification and forecast exercise.
From there, they proceeded to Rwamagana health centre, where they looked at family planning activities and how they are integrated with other Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health (RMNH) services.
Here, they inspected family planning provisions, integration approach and linkage with community based health workers and community.
They also paid a visit to one community health worker’s house and looked at community-based provision of services and watched a community health worker (CHW) administering pills to a client.
The CHWs explained to the visitors the tools used in reporting, stock management and registration.
Ploumen appreciated the nearness of the health services to the people, adding that the Government has made the system strong.
Speaking to journalists, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of UNFPA, said there is progress in family planning services.
“We have to go further, we need to accelerate it. We need to use these kinds of methods of delivery so we get more people to come to the health centre and get the reality of family planning methods because it is important for Rwanda,” he said.
“We were explaining to them that it saves lives, it gives women opportunities to develop themselves, to build families, and an income for themselves, they can have the number of children they can afford,” he added.
In Rwanda, uptake of family planning services stand at 48 per cent, up from 45 per cent in 2010, being higher among educated than uneducated women, according to the latest demographic and health survey released by the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda recently.
However there was still unmet need of 19 per cent of family planning among married women.
UNFPA Supplies is the world’s largest provider of contraceptives, accounting for 42 per cent of all contraception procured by donors on behalf of developing countries.
Last year, UNFPA Supplies provided modern contraceptives and reproductive health services to about 18 million women in more than 46 countries.
They also trained 2,880 national workers to provide reproductive healthcare in emergencies in 2014, the latest year for which data is available.
The contraceptives provided last year had potential to avert an estimated 26,000 maternal and 170,000 child deaths.
Gaspard Maburanturo, the director Rwamagana Health Centre, said the visit was a motivation.
“We are happy to be visited by such partners. The visit has motivated us to work even harder.”
He added that there is a need to have more trained workers in the field of reproductive health in the district so that more people can be reached.
Marie Jose Mukankuranga, a voluntary reproductive health counselor at Rwamagana health centre, says many people are responding to family planning drive positively.
She says the health centre offers family planning services to up to 1,050 citizens in 293 homes.
From Rwamagana, Ploumen continued to Mahama refugee camp in Kirehe District that hosta Burundian refugees on the same mission–examining uptake of family planning services. The Netherlands is the main donor UNFPA in its work of promoting reproductive health in Rwanda.
UNFPA is the largest global programme for family planning which convenes partners to help countries build stronger health systems and widen access to quality contraceptives and lifesaving medicines for maternal health.