Family planning empowers

Factors such as poverty, education and cultural attitudes are all hindering the effective roll-out of family planning in Africa, putting lives at risk.

14 July 2017 | Health

Family planning improves child survival and reduces maternal deaths. But the uptake of family planning in Africa is only 33%, nearly half the world average of 64%. The contraceptive prevalence rate in African countries is considerably low despite an increase in demand.

Niger has one of the highest fertility rates globally. Women of reproductive age have, on average, eight children. Niger has a maternal mortality ratio of 553 per 100 000 live births and an under-five mortality rate of 104 per 1 000 live births. Mauritius has the lowest child mortality rate in Africa at 12 per 1 000 live births.

In Niger 13% of children under five years die from various illnesses. The country is one of the top five that account for half of these deaths in the world.

The low provision of family planning across sub-Saharan Africa is cited as one of the main reasons for the region's high maternal mortality rates. A lack of family planning leads to unintended pregnancies and often means that women deliver their babies with very low skilled assistance. This in turn pushes up the rate of newborn deaths.

Access to family planning services, particularly in developing countries, should be improved.

The impact

Research shows that increasing contraceptive use averts maternal mortality. Investing USD$8.4 per person each year in developing regions would result in 224 000 fewer maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.

There are now a range of contraceptive methods that can be offered to women. These range from medical procedures like sterilisation and implants in men and women to condoms, injectables and emergency contraceptive pills.

Family planning interventions should focus on passing this message to people living in remote rural areas.

Malawi, Ethiopia and Rwanda have achieved dramatic strides in ensuring access to family planning as well as uptake. Strong political support, community engagement, effective strategies and systems and good partnerships are the backbones of successful programmes.

Ethiopia's success has been driven by health extension workers taking family planning services to rural households. The country expanded access to quality primary health care that was promotive, preventive and curative.

In Rwanda, family planning champions were trained and actively involved in advocacy at a community level.

But success can't be achieved without addressing the root causes of low rates of contraceptive use.

Studies have shown that low contraceptive use is usually due to a combination factors. These include poverty, low female literacy rates, cultural values on misconceptions of family planning, lack of spousal or partner approval, lack of women autonomy in decision making on reproductive health, and inaccessibility of health services.

Targeted and sustained public health awareness campaigns on the benefits of contraception should be rolled out at village level to all people of reproductive age.

The campaigns should also encourage male involvement. Studies have shown that the uptake of contraception improves when men are involved in family planning. And encouraging women to speak about their fertility preferences with their partners makes a significant difference.

Governments need to strengthen family planning programmes by understanding and using data on unmet needs to establish community based strategies.

Funding for these initiatives should be prioritised.

The global organisation, Family Planning, has proposed a target of getting 120 million women and girls - particularly from sub Saharan Africa - to use contraceptives by 2020.

Robust family planning policies also have the added advantage of changing a country's age profile by reducing the number of young people dependent on the productive population for their livelihood. This is known as the demographic window, which in turn allows countries to take advantage of reaping demographic dividend.

Family planning can affect the demographic profile of countries in positive ways too - for example by increasing the life expectancy and well-being of women and couples.

But none of this can be achieved unless African countries pay more attention to family planning, put proper policies in place with the necessary resources behind them.


Similar News


Oshipangelo shaShakati shi li mompumbwe

2 days ago - 21 November 2017 | Health

Aanambelewa yuunamiti mOshipangelo shepangelo mOshakati oya holola kutya oomwenyo dhaapangwa yawo odhili moshiponga sho onkalo yoshipangelo shoka yuuka kuuwinayi.MuSepetemba gwonuumvo oshipangelo shoka osha li shiiyadha...

Oshakati hospital running on empty

3 days ago - 20 November 2017 | Health

Medical practitioners at the Oshakati Intermediary Hospital say they fear the lives of patients could be put at risk due to collapsing, untenable conditions prevailing...

US gives millions to fight HIV/Aids

2 weeks ago - 08 November 2017 | Health

Funding to the tune of N$435 million from the United States government to help continue the fight against Namibia's top killer, HIV/Aids, forms part of...

Healthcare concerns linger

2 weeks ago - 06 November 2017 | Health

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has confirmed that a 'turf war' between the health minister, Bernard Haufiku, and his permanent secretary Andreas Mwoombola, is threatening to...

Shocking lack of infection control at hospital

2 weeks ago - 03 November 2017 | Health

Cleaning staff at the Katutura State Hospital say utensils used by patients suffering from tuberculosis (TB) are mixed with those used by other patients.They accuse...

Exodus from diabetes association

3 weeks ago - 02 November 2017 | Health

The coordinator of the Diabetes Association of Namibia (DAN), Dr Matthews Mojekwu, is concerned over the departure of prominent members and founders of the association.Three...

Engela parents to sue over baby's death

3 weeks ago - 27 October 2017 | Health

KENYA KAMBOWEThe parents of a baby girl who died shortly after her mother gave birth to her while standing in the Engela Hospital’s maternity ward...

Breast cancer: Men get the disease too

3 weeks ago - 27 October 2017 | Health

On average, 10 Namibians are diagnosed with cancer every day, and of this nearly 56% are women. This is according to the CEO of the...

Health ministry freezes jobs for nurses

4 weeks ago - 25 October 2017 | Health

The ministry of health and social services has frozen all vacant positions in the ministry because of financial constraints. In a letter addressed to...

Woman loses baby in hospital horror

1 month - 24 October 2017 | Health

A 38-year-old woman on Friday lost her baby in the maternity ward of the Engela State Hospital in the Ohangwena Region after the nurses on...

Latest News

Brave Warriors move up FIFA...

9 hours ago | Sports

The Namibian national senior football team moved up 10 places on the latest Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) world rankings.Namibia moved from 129 to 119th...

Swapo congress kicks off

9 hours ago | Politics

The much-anticipated elective congress of the ruling party has started in Windhoek with over 760 delegates as well as invited guests attending this morning’s opening...

Alweendo seeks US help to...

22 hours ago | Economics

Tom Alweendo, the minister of economic planning and director-general of the National Planning Commission (NPC), has asked the United States of America to help stem...

Debmarine plans world’s biggest offshore...

22 hours ago | Business

Anglo American's diamond unit De Beers has ordered a new US$142 million diamond mining ship as part of its strategy to grow its offshore operations,...

Population grows by 200 000...

22 hours ago | Economics

The estimated population of Namibia grew from 2 113 077 in 2011 to 2 324 388 in 2016, which represents a 10%, according to the...

Hope and scepticism among Zim...

22 hours ago | International

When the sun rose over Zimbabwe yesterday morning, a 37-year-old reality was changed forever with the resignation of Robert Mugabe on Tuesday evening. He resigned...

Boy 7, raped by girl,...

22 hours ago | Crime

A seven-year-old boy was raped at a house in Block E, Rehoboth, on 15 November. In their daily crime bulletin, the police say the boy...

ACC wants more teeth

22 hours ago | Justice

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is appealing to the government to make adequate financial and human resources available to it to meet huge expectations from the...

PDM lashes 'reckless' govt, Schlettwein

22 hours ago | Economics

“Irresponsible”, “reckless”, and “unreliable” were some of the words used by People's Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament Nico Smit to describe finance minister Calle...

Load More