The plan by the Ministry of Health to decentralise the distribution of family planning products to lower level health centres couldn’t have come at an opportune time. Many Rwandan women do not access family planning services.
This has repercussions for their family welfare and personal lives. As a result, some have turned to risky means of contraception, which are dangerous to their health apart from being less effective compared to the conventional methods of contraception.
According to the latest Demographic Health Survey report, 52 per cent of women in Rwanda use contraceptives; 45 per cent use modern contraceptives, while six per cent use traditional methods.
These statistics are a stark reality presented by lack of access to contraceptives.
When couples do not properly space their children, the result is producing children they cannot cater for. At worst, it leads to death as some women, especially teenagers, try the risky option of aborting. Also a woman who produces without spacing is vulnerable to diseases since her body immunity could be compromised.
Therefore, the move by the health ministry is commendable and should be supported by all stakeholders so that the plan is approved to benefit especially rural women.
Availing contraceptives to more women will empower them to decide when to have children. The initiative will also boost efforts geared at having a manageable population that does not stress the country’s resources.
And as the programme awaits approval, the Ministry of Health should in the meantime prepare all the ground work to ensure a smooth implementation.
It is also vital to strengthen awareness drives about the need for couples to plan families according to their income.
Let the ministry involve all Rwandans in this programme, for safe motherhood as well as a healthy and manageable population.