Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
Government is working on achieving universal access to quality integrated family planning and contraceptive services to reduce unintended pregnancies, especially among teenagers.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Principal Director Curative Services in the Ministry Dr Sydney Makarau during a family planning symposium in Harare recently.
“I, therefore, announce in this symposium that in coming years, the Government will aim at achieving universal access to quality integrated family planning and contraceptive services based on the principles of human rights, gender equality and leaving no one behind,” he said.
“By doing so, we aim to reduce unintended pregnancies, including teenage pregnancies and avoidable material and neonatal deaths. This, we believe, will contribute to the well-being and development of the youth, translating to national productivity and progress.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said there was need to expand the contraceptive method mix.
“We need to expand contraceptive method mix, particularly Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC),” he said. “Currently, our programme is heavily tilted towards short-acting methods. We need to take our programme to reaching all women irrespective of their age, marital or socio-economic status and/or geography.
“Specifically, we need to improve access of family planning and sexual reproductive health services to adolescent girls and young women, disabled people, people belonging to lower socio-economic classes, people living in remote areas and people affected by humanitarian crises.”
Dr Parirenyatwa said mobilising and allocating domestic resources was also key to sustaining and improving the gains of the programme.
“Commodity security, particularly for the contraceptives, is the lifeline of the programme, which requires secured domestic funding and efficient logistics management system to avoid uncertainty and supply chain breakdown,’ he said.
“Innovative financing techniques can help mobilise more domestic resources. I am happy to share that we have ensured that these aspects are duly reflected in the recently developed National Family Planning Strategy and its Costed Implementation Plan (2016-2020).
“These are also captured in the current National Health Strategy (2016-10) and in Zimbabwe’s Commitment to Global Strategy for Every Woman, Every Child, and Every Adolescent.
“These are also in line with our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and priorities reflected in our country’s development blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.”