Source: Tanzania Daily News
LACK of adequate family planning education is the reason for insufficient resources among many families, resulting in unwanted pregnancies and maternal death.

According to Tanzania Demographic Health Survey (TDHS) of 2010, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate among married women is 27 per cent while 45 per cent are sexually active and other 16 per cent of people failed to adopt family planning due to lack of education.

Family planning is the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. A good thing is that, it is achieved through use of contraceptive methods.

According to the survey, 78 per cent of women in Lake Zone regions neither discussed family planning with a fieldworker nor with staff at a healthy facility. The current use of FP for the women of 15- 45 ages, indicates that, 27 of the unmarried women and 45 per cent of sexually active preferred modern method.

That is a fewer number compared to the Tanzanian population of 10 million people who are mature for reproductive health in Tanzania. However, the survey revealed that only three per cent of the citizens got education on FP while 7 per cent of the poorest household they don't have proper knowledge on FP.

The situation will not make the country meet its target of reaching 60 per cent of the national contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) by 2015, which the country committed itself at the London Summit of Family Planning 2020.

The objective of the summit was to increase the demand and support for family planning, improving supply chains, systems and services delivery models and fostering innovative approaches for FP just to mention a few. Mary is among many Tanzanian women who have no idea what Family Planning is all about. She had been bearing children every year, while calling her situation development of her life.

"I get pregnant every year. To me this is development, despite the economic challenges we are facing. My husband is jobless and he goes out to drink on a daily basis," she said, adding that she started bearing children at the age of 20 and to date, at age 17, she has six children.

Mary also said that she could not enrol her three children in school due to family problems, which include lack of cash and food to feed her family and medical treatment. "We are poor. My fourth child is sick in bed, I cannot take her to hospital because I have no money."

According to the woman, she goes out for casual work, from where she gets little food for her six children. Mary is among many people in the country who have not yet adopted family planning. Family planning has a lot of both economic and social advantages.

It helps families to decide the size and number of children to be born, at a specified times and pave the way for a family to do other productive activities. It also maintains reproductive health among families and avoids the number of unwanted pregnancies and maternal deaths.

Family Planning will also help the country to have good plans for its developments which will reflect the size of its population who are in reproductive health. A kind of multilateral intervention is needed at all levels to create awareness and make people adopt family planning as it is 'a cross cutting issue' to citizens.

Media also are needed to play their role of disseminating the correct and researched information on the benefits and challenges that hinder family planning.

However, media owners are supposed to equip their journalists with various training on health issues, so that they can have specialised art on family planning issues for both print and electronic media so that they can educate and empower the citizens to know the importance of family planning and reproductive health planning.

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