MPs tackle population growth

Vow to champion Family Planning crusade Legislators under their umbrella group, Rwandan Parliamentary Network on Population and Development – RPRPD, yesterday vowed to spearhead a countrywide family planning drive, at the conclusion of a two-day seminar on the country’s fast growing population and development.
Deputy Speaker Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo.
Deputy Speaker Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo.

Vow to champion Family Planning crusade

Legislators under their umbrella group, Rwandan Parliamentary Network on Population and Development – RPRPD, yesterday vowed to spearhead a countrywide family planning drive, at the conclusion of a two-day seminar on the country’s fast growing population and development.

The lawmakers also discussed their role in tackling reproductive health countrywide to deal with the growing population concerns.

“As people’s representatives, I think we should have no fear taking the fast growing population as a real threat. After this seminar, I request you not to take this problem lightly,” urged Deputy Speaker Dr. Jean Damascène Ntawukuliryayo, calling for urgent action as he closed the session.

“If we take it lightly our country’s vision 2020 will not be attained,” said Ntawukuriryayo, who is the immediate former Minister of Health.

Vision 2020 seeks to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by the year 2020, but the population increase is exerting pressure on socio-economic progress; including lowering living standards and increasing service demand.

Some of the resolutions from the meeting include; urging the MPs, especially those in RPRDP to continue with sensibilisation and advocacy on the fast growing population and resultant problems.

The Church too has been called upon to appreciate how the population problem is deterring Rwanda’s development, and thus has to play its role.

Senator Wellars Gasamagera stressed the role of legislators– representation. He advised legislators to act responsibly and show examples when sensitizing the population.

Ntawukuliryayo observed that no one would be blamed for failing the country on the matter other than the lawmakers themselves.

“Starting now, from the village and sector levels, we can win this war. Let us join hands, get rid of the false rumours surrounding family planning and birth control issues,” Dr. Ntawukuliryayo said.

“If we don’t speak out now, talk to our children and spouses – you can’t treat something you don’t speak about!”

Ntawukuliryayo advocated for a family planning week in the country and a thorough campaign for the ideal two children per family, which he said is “not a law” but a necessity for the country to achieve its development agenda.

“We should go everywhere in the country to make this problem well understood. We have no right to take this lightly.”

With a current approximate 10 million population and an unchanging surface area of 26,338 sq kms, Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa.

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