Thandeka Moyo, Health Reporter
ZIMBABWE has become the first country in Africa to achieve the 2020 family planning target by ensuring that at least 68 percent of women have access to contraception.
This came out last Thursday when the country joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Contraception Day.
Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council regional manager Mr Blessed Gumbi said the rate of women accessing modern contraceptives had improved since 2011.
“We have done so well as a country and managed to meet the 2020 target before deadline. However, we still have challenges with men who make it difficult for women to access family planning services which often leads to unwanted pregnancies,” said Mr Gumbi.
“There are men who still do not believe in contraception though all these methods are scientifically proven to help plan families and none of them leads to infertility,” he said.
Mr Gumbi said it was worrying to note that many adolescents were quick to indulge in sexual activities but are not ready to start on contraception.
“We also have a challenge with our youngsters who delay contraception but are quick to indulge and end up abusing the emergency.”
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care Dr Ruth Labode said shortages in contraception also had an impact on access.
“Contraceptives are indeed in short supply and this is likely to increase teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions. We get the larger supply of our contraceptives as a donation from UNFPA and the Zimbabwean government is expected to cover the gap. Am not sure where the bottleneck is in the procurement chain,” said Dr Labode.
According to UNPFA, a lot more still needs to be done to end the unmet need for family planning, which averages 10.4 percent nationally but is higher at 12.6 percent among adolescents.
Zimbabwe plans to reduce unmet need for family planning from 10.4 percent to 6.5 percent and from 12.6 percent to 8.5 percent among adolescents. — @thamamoe