Delivering on the promise of family planning in hard to reach places

7 August 2018
Nsengimana Jean de Dieu and his wife Mukabutera Seraphine share their FP testimony

Over the month of July, Rwanda went beyond one-day event to partner with communities in a week-long outreach campaigns in rural remote areas of Karongi District to promote access to family planning information and services as part of national celebrations of this year’s World Population Day.

During 6 day’s campaign in the district, 3,495 people received family planning methods, with 49.6 per cent chose to use long-term contraception including two men who opted for a vasectomy. The contraceptive prevalence rate for married women in Karongi district stands at 37.7 per cent – one of the lowest in the country.

In the spirit of leaving no one behind, with a theme “Family Planning is a human right” this year’s national commemoration considered the rural Rwankuba Sector to bring FP services closer to the rural people and support those affected by heavy rainfall and landslides.

As FP is a human right and a choice for all, not only left for women but also men, Nsengimana Jean de Dieu and his wife Mukabutera Seraphine residents of Rwankuba Sector share a testimony how family planning is a key factor to their improved well-being and a living example in their village.

Nsengimana underwent vasectomy as his choice of family planning to help his wife who had previously used family planning methods but got undesirable side effects. Since the couple didn’t want to have more children, he accepted to go for vasectomy as sensitized by health providers that there were no health risks associated to the method.

 “When you have a particular number of children and well-spaced, you plan for their needs responsibly. This leaves you with enough resources to plan for the future leading to the development of the household and the country in general,” Nsengimana says.

The couple have three children and had an incredible spacing with an interval of five years in between. Nsengimana says this was only possible because of the use of family planning that he personally took as his responsibility to support his wife.

My children have never gone hungry or failed to attend school or failed to have appropriate clothing. With the little money we earn with my wife, I have managed to give my family a decent living,” he narrates.

Nsengimana, therefore calls onto other parents to embrace family planning because the benefits stretch right back to society in general.

In his remarks, Mark Bryan Schreiner, the UNFPA Rwanda Representative, said this year’s theme coincides with the period where the demographic dividend profile for Rwanda has determined family planning as a best buy to achieve sustainable development. It also coincides with the period where the country has published its first ever integrated national Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) policy and evidence of existing family planning barriers in Rwanda that impede the uptake of contraceptive methods has been identified.

CaptiPhoto: Mr. Mark Bryan Schreiner (R), UNFPA Rwanda Representative, 2nd (R) Mr. Ndayisaba Francois, Mayor Karongi District, (C)
Hon. De Bonheur Jeanne d’Arc, Minister in charge of Disaster and Refugee Affairs, 2nd (L) Hon. Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi,
Minister of State in charge of Public and Primary Health Care during WPD celebration. 

Schreiner reiterated the importance of family planning to the development of the country, promoting the rights of children, young people, men and women as well as improving the living conditions of the families.

The impacts of FP are not just for one lifetime: but across generations, thus, “Investing for a Lifetime of Returns” which has been chosen as the theme for the 5th International Conference on Family Planning to be hosted by the Government of Rwanda in November” Schreiner says.

Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, the Minister of State in charge of Public and Primary Health Care in the Ministry of Health while addressing the crowd said that the government of Rwanda has made various investments in family planning services including training health providers, equipping health facilities, procurement of FP methods and put in place favorable policies for the well-being of the citizens.

The country has made tremendous progress in family planning which has contributed positively related indicators such as maternal and infant health and the number of child-bearing per family. I encourage both men and women to embrace FP services because it improves the well-being of families and impacts the economic growth of the country” Dr. Patrick calls upon residents.

In spite of achievements moving ahead, some efforts are still needed in order to attain the country’s and global targets. Both the Minister of State and UNFPA Representative call upon government and partners to work together to deliver what is required to transform the lives of men, women, girls and boys, and contribute to a healthier and more prosperous Rwanda for all. 



Photo: Residents of Rwankuba Sector listening to FP messages during WPD celebrations