Sensitise refugees on family planning

LAST WEEK, lawmakers expressed concern over reports of high birth rates in Congolese refugee camps in the country.

LAST WEEK, lawmakers expressed concern over reports of high birth rates in Congolese refugee camps in the country.

There are five refugee camps in Rwanda, with more than 60,000 Congolese citizens who fled to Rwanda due to conflicts in eastern Congo, some having been here for over 17 years.

According to a senatorial report, refugees bear many children, saying the bigger the family the more food rations they get.

This is ironical. Larger households are more likely to be undernourished, unhealthier. Large families also affect children access to education which maintains the poverty cycle.

There is evidence linking poverty to large families in low income countries.

A high number of children per woman and large families affect chances of education for children, especially the girl child.

Also, frequent and many deliveries have been found to affect a woman’s health.

Avoiding birth after the fifth born can reduce maternal death by half, according to scientists.

And short birth intervals are linked to poor maternal and child health.

Rwanda is making progress on its targets to reduce poverty and lowering maternal and child death by increasing access to family planning services.

Refugees need to be sensitised on the impact of high birth rates, the realities of our countries, and the burden of high fertility on social services like education and healthcare.

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