The government, in conjunction with CARE International, Thursday launched a US$ 600,000 family planning programme aimed at mitigating threats posed by the country’s fast growing population.
The launch was held in Gatsibo district under the theme: “Reproductive Health Trust Fund: Social Change for Family Planning Results Initiative.”
The programme aims to popularize the use of modern family planning methods.
To increase access of modern methods in the community, CARE, and other stakeholders who include UNFPA and the Ministry of Health, will open a supplementary family planning post in Kiziguro.
“The project will especially involve the community, using a participative approach to identify and address the social norms that hold back people from using proper family planning methods and other services in general,” Yvonne Uwimana, CARE International’s project manager noted.
According to surveys, the centre will be a post for promoting family planning in the district that currently levels at only 2%.
Its two-pronged approach involves improving health-services and information regarding family planning as well as building the community’s capacity to address the social barriers.
Speaking at the launch, Uwimana, urged the residents to make good use of the centre. She said that if the post is well used by the residents, the level of family planning in the area will increase tremendously.
“This post has been set up for you…you should profit from it and help the government to reach its 75% family planning target,” she said.
In Gatsibo, FP rates are said to be below the national average of 27 percent (DHS 2005) and Uwimana blames this on poor a cultural mind-set where couples want to have many children.
The Director of Kiziguro hospital, Dr. Fred Muhairwe, thanked development partners for the support.
“Health centres in the area are mainly run by the Catholic Church and it does not encourage modern family planning methods, which is another obstacle.”
The project’s objective is to increase the use of modern contraceptives in four sectors; Muhura, Murambi, Kiziguro and Nyagihanga in Gatsibo district, by 2012.