Step up family planning initiatives - MPs

Members of Parliament have urged the Ministry of health to step up family planning initiatives as a way of controlling population growth.

Members of Parliament have urged the Ministry of health to step up family planning initiatives as a way of controlling population growth.

According to a recent survey conducted by parliamentarians, at least 99 percent of hospitals and health centers across the country offer family planning services, but they are understaffed.

Speaking at a one-day parliamentarians’ briefing on reproductive health in Bugesera district, last Friday, MP Theobald Mporanyi, said that despite the service being available, there is still a challenge of adequate trained personnel to offer family planning services.

“99 percent of our hospitals and health centers countrywide offer family planning services. But the challenge we noticed is that there is insufficient medical personnel in this program and majority of them are unqualified,” said Mporanyi, the president of the Commission in charge of Reproductive health, family planning, HIV/Aids and other transmission diseases.

Dr Jovith Ndahinyuka, from the Ministry of Health, disclosed that in 2007 client demand and utilization of family planning among Rwandans was at 10 percent, while in 2008 it increased to 27 percent.

Between 2005 and 2010, contraceptives worth $25million were donated to various health facilities, Dr. Ndahinyuka said.

Addressing participants, the Vice Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, stressed the need to step up family planning campaigns so as to control population growth.

Dr. Ntawukuriryayo, who is also the president of the Rwandan Parliamentarians’ Network on Population and Development (RPRPD), appealed to the Ministry of Health to negotiate with health insurance schemes like RAMA, Mituelle de sante and Military Medical Insurance (MMI), to include family planning packages for their beneficiaries.

“I advise my fellow Parliamentarians and Senators who are here to avoid taking the issue of population control lightly. It’s among the major challenges which can affect the achievement of sustainable development in the future,” Ntawukuriryayo said.

He also advised the Ministry of Health to distribute contraceptives to all health centers and hospitals and recruit more staff to solve the problem of understaffing in the family planning program.

In a separate interview, Dr Ndahinyuka revealed that the government spends about Rwf3 billion every year on buying contraceptives which are given to Rwandans free of charge.

The function was attended by over 50 participants who included MPs and Senators.

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