Dodoma. Just one day after President John Magufuli reiterated his opposition to birth controls by telling Tanzanians to continue reproducing, a Member of Parliament (MP) has faulted him on grounds that his (the President’s) position was going contrary to the available national policies.
Speaking at a public rally in Meatu in Simiyu Region on Sunday, September 09, 2018, President Magufuli told the gathering not to listen to those advising about birth controls, saying those doing so had some sinister motives.
“Those going for family planning are lazy….they are afraid they will not be able to feed their children. They do not want to work hard to feed a large family. And that is why they opt for birth controls and end up with one or two children only,” he added.
But Speaking in Parliament on Monday, September 10, 2018, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ndanda, Mr Cecil Mwambe (Chadema) said it was unfortunate that while the President wants Tanzanians to keep reproducing, the country’s health insurance schemes can only accommodate a maximum of four children from one family.
“Our health insurance schemes can only accommodate a maximum of four children from one family…This suggests that the government is aware of the need for family planning but we heard the President saying we should reproduce as much as we can….Can I have your guidance on this?” said Mr Mwambe, requesting the Speaker’s guidance.
He said if the President’s statement was to be taken seriously, then even the health insurance schemes must increase the number of children from one family to ten.
In response, the Speaker, Mr Job Ndugai, said the President’s utterance was a mere advice.
President Magufuli said in Meatu on Sunday that since residents of the area are mostly livestock keepers and farmers, they can then feed their children and thus no need of opting for birth controls.
“These are my views but I do not see any need for birth control in Tanzania….I have travelled to Europe and elsewhere and I have seen the side effects of birth control. In some countries they are now struggling with declining population growth. They have no labour force,” he said.
Read more: Magufuli advises against birth control
He urged Tanzanians to keep reproducing because the government was increasing investment in maternal health specifically and the health sector in general. He said the government is about to construct 67 district hospitals countrywide.
President Magufuli was speaking in the presence of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative in Tanzania Jacqueline Mahon and the minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu.
It was not the first time for President Magufuli to talk about his opposition to birth control. In 2016, soon after the start of the free public education for primary and secondary schools, President Magufuli said Tanzanians can give birth to as many children as possible because education was no longer expensive.