By Abigail Mawonde
The country’s contraceptive prevalence rate now stands at 67 percent, an improvement from 59 percent in 2010, but more still needs to be done to cover the gap, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) executive director, Dr Munyaradzi Murwira, has said.
He made the remarks in a statement to commemorate World Contraceptive Day, celebrated on September 26 of every year.
Zimbabwe’s Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) — the proportion of women aged 15-49 using family planning — ranks among the highest in Africa.
Unmet need for family planning among married couples is 10 percent in urban areas and 11 percent in rural areas while unmet need for young people is 12,6 percent.
Dr Murwira said efforts must be doubled to reach young people, unmarried sexually active women and strengthen the availability of a variety of family planning methods.
“We must therefore work hard to ensure that even women and girls in the remotest part of the country have access to family planning both short-term and long acting.”
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative, Dr Esther Muia, said family planning was a human right.
“Family planning is a human right which empowers women and girls and helps save lives. Pregnancy should be by choice and not by chance,” she said.
“Today, we still have areas with limited access to family planning information and services, particularly for young girls and for those in remote areas. This is of great concern particularly in the context of the high teenage pregnancies (one in three girls below 18), which cut short these girls’ productive lives. We need to look closely at expanding contraceptive choice for all.”
The theme for this year’s commemorations was, “It’s your life: it’s your responsibility”.