By Elita Chikwati and Sibongile Maruta
Men should play a supportive role in selecting and accessing family planning methods.
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa said this yesterday while officially launching the Sexual Reproductive Health and Family Planning Programme being funded by the Swedish government through the Swedish International Development Co-operation (SIDA) in Harare.
The Swedish government availed $8,5 million towards the programme.
“To men out there, family planning is your responsibility too. Your involvement in assisting women in choosing and accessing these methods is highly encouraged.
“There are methods specifically meant for men. For example vasectomy, which is offered by the Ministry of Health and Child Care through Populations Services Zimbabwe (PSZ) and the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council, I urge you to consider them,” she said.
She said most women lacked the knowledge and resources to access modern family planning methods and information and the partnership between SIDA and PSZ, which was complementing efforts by the Ministry of Health and Child care was commendable.
“As you know, my passion as the First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I have made it a priority to make an impact in the area of women’s health as evidenced by the national cancer screening campaign and outreach programme. I believe that sexually transmitted infections and other related services should be integrated to offer a one-stop shop for women,” she said.
“I am reliably informed that despite uncertain funding among other challenges, in 2017, more than 403 000 women received a contraceptive method provided by PSZ.
“Over the last three decades, Zimbabwe has managed to double its modern contraceptive prevalence rate from 38 percent in 1984 to 67 percent in 2014 through efforts of the Government and others stakeholders. This is an impressive growth indeed and as we know the unmet need is still evident especially among rural women and young adults,” she said.
She expressed concern that the uptake of long acting and permanent methods was still limited and estimated to be around 11 percent of the modern contraceptive prevalence rate total.
“This is an indicator that there is still more work to be done in raising awareness in relation to family planning information.
She expressed gratitude to SIDA for assisting Government to reach out to women.