THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development has urged government to channel resources towards family planning instead of solely relying on donor funds.
by VENERANDA LANGA
In a recent report tabled before the National Assembly, chairperson of the committee Biata Nyamupinga said it was shocking that government was failing to fund family planning.
“Family planning for women in the country is being funded only by the donor community, which is dangerous and hence you find that the RG (Registrar-General) is also crying foul that some of these drugs that are coming are not best for women,” she said.
In July last year, Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede appeared before the committee and submitted claims that archaic family planning methods like tying a tree bark around women’s waists to prevent pregnancy, as well as the use of withdrawal by men were better family planning methods.
Mudede claimed family planning methods such as Jadelle, Depo Provera, Norplant and birth control pills were a plot by the West to limit African and Asian populations.
He said modern family planning methods caused severe headaches, poor eyesight, low libido, obesity, nausea, chest pains, skin rashes, appetite increases, breast pain, cervicitis and acne, among many side effects.
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Thokozani Khupe supported the report by the committee, saying government’s support for family planning would reduce maternal mortality and unwanted pregnancies, where women ended up giving birth at unorthodox places.
“Family planning saves lives, reduces maternal mortality, child mortality and HIV. It also empowers women and girls because they will be able to decide when to have children and how many they will have,” Khupe said. “I would like to propose that the health budget be increased so that family planning is increased from the current 1,7% to 3%.”