GISAGARA - Population Services International (PSI Rwanda), in conjunction with Gisagara District, have agreed to work together to promote various family health programmes in the district.
Speaking at the launch of the programme on Monday, in Nyanza Sector, Health Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera, called upon residents to embrace condom use for family planning purposes and protection against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.
He urged parents to speak openly with their children about condom use, instead of shying away.
“We cannot teach our children how to use computers and then fail to teach them how to use condoms,” the Minister said.
He appealed to men to play a prominent role in family planning initiatives, saying the family planning equally affects them.
According to district authorities, Nyanza Sector, which lies near Rwanda’s border with Burundi, was targeted because of the low adherence to family planning programmes.
“Family planning has been embraced up to about 21 percent in this sector; this is far below the national target of 50 percent,” said the Mayor, Leandre Karekezi.
He blamed the low levels of family planning on ignorance and the reluctance of health facilities run by religious organisations to provide modern family planning services.
Nyanza Sector has 12 health centres, eight of which are run by religious organisations which are against the use of contraceptives.
However, the Mayor said new strategies to reach out to the people have been devised.
“We have set up secondary posts near these health facilities to provide family planning services,” said Karekezi.
To expand visibility and availability of health products and services, the district in collaboration with PSI Rwanda, has also established new outlets where condoms can be accessed.
Local leaders and shop owners have been trained on correct and consistent condom use and family planning.
In addition, Mobile VCT and Family Planning units, night mobile cinema shows and rapid promotions on Family Planning, including condom demonstrations, have been carried out.
Through its various community health programmes, PSI with financial support from the US Government advocates for correct and consistent condom use, increasing the use of family planning and promoting Voluntary Counselling and Testing.