Michell Zvanyanya, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) hopes to achieve its target to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) in Zimbabwe to 68 percent by next year.
CPR is the number of both young and old reproductive women who are able to access family planning options or contraception.
In 2015 ZNFPC conducted a survey revealing that only 65 percent of women had access to contraceptives.
Addressing more than 30 youths during a contraceptives workshop at Mzilikazi Youth Centre yesterday, a ZNFPC representative said the strategic exercise implemented in 2016 seeks to increase the rate to 68 percent.
The workshop was held in partnership with the My Age Zimbabwe Trust under the theme “Access to contraceptives for young people.”
“We have been working on a five-year strategic plan to increase the Contraceptives Prevalence Rate (CPR) from 65 to 68 percent by the year 2020. Various activities such as family planning campaigns, increased outreach programmes to rural areas, training of peer educators. We also engage in activities of condom promotion and distribution in a bid to achieve our goal,” said the representative. “Last week when we celebrated the World Contraceptive Day it was put clearly that Zimbabwe is the only country in Southern Africa that has managed to increase it CPR before our set target of 2020. We are therefore optimistic of reaching the 68 percent target or even more.”
He urged the youths to identify and remove the barriers to access to any contraceptive methods to promote their right to access to family planning methods. “In Zimbabwe there is no law that limits anyone even at your age to access any family planning methods. No one is too young for protection therefore having access to those services will help reduce incidents of unwanted teenage pregnancies at the same time contributing to increase in CPR,” said the representative.
The ZNFPC has opened condom distribution centres, some in remote rural areas to improve public access to contraceptives.
“Opening condom distribution centres in rural areas has been our primary measure in increasing CPR and it is a community based form of distribution. In those areas we identified people in the community and trained them into community-based distributors who distribute condoms and contraceptives to individuals who have no access to clinics. This has been effective in bridging the unmet need for family planning. Most rural areas from Umguza district for example have benefited from this exercise,” he said.
He expressed concern over the increase in teenage pregnancies in Zimbabwe, saying the ZNFPC seeks to reduce incidents of teenage pregnancies from 21 percent to 12 percent.
“The survey that we are basing our teenage pregnancy statistics on was conducted in 2015 into 2016. According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) in Zimbabwe teenage pregnancies are at 21 percent therefore we aim at reducing that to 12 percent by 2020,” he said. — @michellzvanyanyan2