First Lady: Mindset shift key to higher uptake of family planning

According to the First Lady, activists have to push for a positive mindset shift for effective family planning and sexual reproductive health practices to take due course.
First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame addresses delegates at the 5th International Conference on Family Planning luncheon in Kigali yesterday. Mrs Kagame called for a mindset change to help improve access to family planning services.

The quest for higher global uptake of family planning will get a major boost if there is a mindset change, mainly by discarding some misguided beliefs that hinder family planning.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame said this Monday, during a special pre-conference luncheon at the International Conference on Family Planning, that is currently underway in Kigali.

According to Mrs Kagame, family planning activists have to push for a positive mindset shift for effective family planning and sexual reproductive health practices to take due course.

“The question we are now facing is what short, medium and long-term approaches would foster a positive mindset shift in our societies, if we wanted to encourage a greater uptake in family planning, to respond to our new socio-economic realities,” she said.

According to Mrs Kagame, history taught the world that bigger families or having numerous children was better.

These assumptions, the First Lady says, must be challenged by all stakeholders, if the family planning and sexual reproductive health is to be effectively promoted.

“The history of our world taught us that parents would have more children to offset the higher rates of child mortality; but also, that larger families were often associated with greater pride, as well as a solution for economic stability, since children would take care of their parents, once they could no longer work.”

First lady of Rwanda attends the special pre-conference luncheon of the International Conference on Family Planing

“Indeed, we must ensure that all relevant stakeholders, from public health, economics, sociology, political science, and psychology disciplines, will work hand in hand with demographers, to yield sound and friendly policies, inspired by relevant specific population studies,” First Lady added.

Mrs Kagame outlined four key drivers that will promote best family planning namely, innovation, integration, agglomeration, and competition. She also noted that the capacity of more healthcare givers to provide quality services would go a long way in increasing high acceptance of family planning and sexual reproductive health practices.

The First Lady said that there’s need to reconcile cultural and religious beliefs that discourage the use of family planning methods, with the reality that with smaller families, communities can enjoy greater economic freedom, access to education and health services, while preserving our natural environment.

“The acceleration of our economic growth, and poverty reduction, requires access to comprehensive family planning services, for a more favorable population age structure, with more people being of working age.”

The Executive Director of UNFPA and United Nations Under-Secretary General, Dr Natalia Kanem, in her remarks said that expression of right to family planning, “when to have children how many and how to space them, upholding this right is not just a moral imperative it is a path to sustainable development.”

According to Dr Kanem, demographic dividend can only be possible when fertility declines.

“The demographic framework requires everyone and all sectors to work together, words need to be taken into action,” Kanem added.

The International Conference on Family Planning, which was officially opened this Monday, will conclude on the Thursday 15th November 2018. It has brought together over 3000 key players and youth from around the world to deliberate around the issues of Family Planning and Sexual Reproductive Health.

Meanwhile, before the meeting, the CEO and President of the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, Ms Carol S. Larson, visited Imbuto Foundation’s Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) Youth Corner and Club, based in Cor-Unum Health Center in Kimisagara, Nyarugenge District where she learnt about the services provided to youth on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health.

On Tuesday the First Lady will participate in a high level panel discussion to be held under the theme;  “Women of Impact: Leading Ladies Leading Positive Changes” as part of the ongoing meeting.