Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga said it was a right for every citizen to enjoy Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, but as it stands, a significant proportion of women and girls had challenges in accessing SRHR while addressing the 19th edition of the International Inter-Ministerial Conference on Population and Development in Thailand on Monday.
“Pertaining to Family Planning (FP), the Government of Zimbabwe is committed to Zero unmet need for Family Planning (FP). Whilst Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) must be enjoyed by every citizen, a significant proportion of women, and girls face challenges in realizing these rights,” said Dr Chiwenga.
The Vice President called upon the conference to consider other family planning ways such as abstinence for both sexes and adequately fund the family planning programme ensuring that everyone is covered.
“I now urge this conference to consider a holistic approach to family planning including abstinence, that involves both sexes (boys and girls, men and women) and uphold the critical role of the family and the community taking into consideration the sensitive issues of faith. It is important to ensure that all these programmes are funded equitably ensuring that none is left behind,” said the VP.
Dr Chiwenga noted that family planning was a core component in reducing maternal, neo-natal and child deaths as well as reducing unmet need for family planning.
“Family planning remains a cost-effective reproductive, maternal and child health strategic intervention to reduce maternal, neo-natal and child deaths. I am glad to share that, Zimbabwe has achieved a reduction in the unmet need for family planning from 14% in 2020 to 10% in 2022 for all age groups,” said Dr Chiwenga.
As a way of promoting the availability of contraceptives, VP Chiwenga said Government made a budgetary provision to that effect in the 2022 national budget.
“Furthermore, the Government of Zimbabwe has ensured a budget line on contraceptive commodities of ZWL $ 627 million in 2022 and procured contraceptive commodities worth US$ 1.5 million,” said VP Chiwenga.