KARONGI- The Western Province still lags behind in the use of family planning methods, according to a report by the Ministry of Health.
The Northern Province tops the performance list with the Southern and Eastern regions following closely.
The Western Province also has the highest school drop-out rates for girls due to unwanted pregnancies.
Available statistics from the Ministry of Education indicate that most of the drop outs are mainly from the Nine-year Basic Education schools.
During a provincial consultative meeting held in Karongi District this week, the two issues took the centre stage as strict measures were adopted to reverse the trend.
Thomas Nsengiyumva, a family planning expert at the Ministry of Health pointed out the need for collective efforts to address reproductive health and population control issues.
“There is a dire need to create wide awareness about family planning and population control because it is a necessity for maternal, child and family health,” he said.
He pointed out the role of family planning in offering sustainable education opportunities to all Rwandans.
Some medical practitioners attributed the problem to lack of autonomy at some health centres and hospitals particularly those affiliated to various religious denominations.
“Some religious denominations condemn certain methods of family planning such as vasectomy. Inducing behavioral change in such a case becomes a long and gradual process,” observed Dr Silvestre Ntirivamunda, the Director of Murunda Hospital in Rutsiro District.
On his part, the provincial Governor, Celestin Kabahizi, pledged his full commitment to work with local leaders to reverse the situation.