RWAMAGANA-Rwanda’s population is expected to grow to 21.8 million by 2035, if the current birth rate is sustained.
This was disclosed by Liberata Kayitesi, the Secretary General of Rwanda Network of Parliamentarians for Population and Development (RPRPD).
Kayitesi was addressing a family planning campaign rally which attracted various government officials, hospital directors, district mayors and community health workers within the Eastern Province.
She warned that the population growth assessment, which was conducted by Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, indicates that by the year 2035, the population would, by far, exceed the country’s resources.
“We are discussing modalities of checking the rapid population increase...the projection is scary. We have started the campaign from this province, but we shall extend it to other provinces and Kigali City,” she said.
Reacting to the public call for three children per family policy, the legislator said that family planning sensitisation has to initially be prioritised.
“The practicability of the policy would be complex, yet we have not done enough to sensitise the population. We want to push awareness to every family.”
Dr. Anicet Nzabonimpa, the Director of Family Planning in the Ministry, noted that side effects of artificial family planning methods, was being used as an excuse to keep away mothers from applying them.
He said that the effects can be handled by all health centres in the country, and urged mothers to adopt family planning.
“It all goes back to ignorance... it is a sad reality that only the poor and uneducated produce many children,” Nzabonimpa said.
“45 percent of mothers go for modern family planning, while natural methods take six percent. This is 51 percent, so there is a long way to go considering our aim of reaching 70 percent by 2012.”
Jane Muhongayire, a women representative in Nyagatare District said that more efforts to promote family planning must target men.
“Most rural married women are not given a chance to bargain...so, unless these men, who are pushed by male chauvinism, are sensitised, I am afraid we won’t do much,” she said.
The current population of Rwanda is estimated to be 10 million, living on 26,000 square kilometres of land.