Dar es Salaam. A network of members of parliaments from across Europe, who are committed to protecting sexual and reproductive health of the world’s most vulnerable people, has called on Tanzania to work on family planning issues for the country to easily transform into the middle income economy.
The network, grouped under the The European Parliament Forum on Population (EPF) and Development, said in Dar es Salaam at the weekend that Tanzania should strive to empower women by ensuring that they access family planning services.
By doing so, the network believes that a lot of people will be active participants in various economic activities, which will help the country transform into the middle income economy.
This was said last week when members of Tanzania Parliamentary Association on Population and Development (TPAPD) were joined by a delegation of Members of Parliament (MPs) who are members of the EPF in a tour to learn about progress and challenges in the provision of reproductive, maternal, new-born, child and adolescent health services in the country. “In Europe, the governments have prioritised family planning services and experience shows that women there are empowered and are able to make decisions that impact directly on their lives at family level and even at community level,” said a senator from Ireland, Ms Lorian Clifford.
She added that when women are empowered they are also capable of supporting the government’s vision of becoming a middle income economy through giving birth to the right number of children, saying this will help build strong families.
The chairman of TPAPD, Mr Jamal Kassim, (Magomeni MP), said Tanzania’s vision is to become a middle-income, semi-industrialised nation with high quality and sustainable livelihoods, peace, unity, good governance and the rule of law, an educated society, and a strong economy by 2025.
However he noted that despite tremendous efforts by the government to improve the delivery of reproductive, maternal, new-born, child, and adolescent health services through increasing family planning budget, increasing the numbers and skills of health service providers, as well as expanding coverage of health facilities and improving their status, there are many challenges, which need to be addressed. “Total fertility is still high at 5.2 children per woman in the reproductive age while maternal mortality has increased from 454 to 556 deaths for every 100,000 live births between 2010 and 2015, and teenage pregnancies have risen to 27 per cent from 23 per cent during the same period. Family planning through the use of modern methods is still very low at 32 per cent only,” he said.
Increasing maternal mortality and morbidity continue to rob the nation by taking away the female workforce.
and minimising their contribution to the development of the country.
Furthermore, this situation violates basic human rights for women such as the right to life and dignity.
Further he noted that teenage pregnancies are increasingly threatening the health and educational ambitions of girls, impedes achievements in attaining gender equality and empowerment of women, and keeps women in poverty and dependence – limiting their ability to effectively
participate in social and economic activities.
“We call upon the government to increase efforts in accelerating the provision of Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child, and Adolescent Health in Tanzania,’ he said.