'Accelerate family planning in Rwanda'

9 June 2016
Uptake of family planning services in Rwanda is at 48 per cent, up from 45 per cent in 2010. © UNFPA

RWAMAGANA DISTRICT, Rwanda – Family planning provision in Rwanda must be accelerated, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said during a joint visit with the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development to look at health facility management processes.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, and others observe as Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Trade and Development (Netherlands) examines a set of beads that are used to keep track of the menstrual cycle, at Rwamagana Health Centre. © UNFPA

“We must use these methods of delivery to get more people to come to the health centre and get family planning services, because it is important for Rwanda,” Dr. Osotimehin said during his visit to Rwamagana health facilities.

Dr. Osotimehin and Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development, were accompanied by Patrick Ndimubanzi, the Minister of State in charge of Primary Health Care in the Ministry of Health, on their visit to the Rwamagana District medical warehouse to examine procurement and supply chain management processes.

Ms. Ploumen said she was impressed with the management of the warehouse, as she inspected the contraceptives in stock, the supply chain management from the central warehouse to beneficiaries, electronic logistical management information system (ELMIS) and involvement in quantification and forecast exercise.

At Rwamagana health centre, the officials looked at family planning activities and how they are integrated with other Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health (RMNH) services. They inspected family planning provisions, the integration approach and linkages with community-based health workers and the community.

Dr. Osotimehin listens as Marie Josee Mukankuranga, a community health worker in Rwamagana district, explains how she provides services for clients. Dr. Osotimehin also visited the Rwamagana Health Centre and the Rwamagana District Pharmacy to view the work and impact of UNFPA Supplies in Rwanda. © UNFPA

Dr. Osotimehin and Ms. Ploumen commended Marie Josee Mukankuranga, a Community Health Worker who was visited at her home, for her provision of community-based services by. A voluntary reproductive health counsellor in her village, she explained to the officials how she administers family planning to clients, the tools she uses in reporting, stock management and registration. Many people were responding to family planning positively and the most preferred method was an injectable, Depo-Provera, she said.

Ms. Ploumen appreciated the close proximity of the health services to the community, and said the government was ensuring a strong and efficient health system.

Dr. Osotimehin said it was clear that progress was being made in access to and use of family planning services in Rwanda. However, more support was needed for the Community Health Workers, who were doing a good job, he said.

“We were explaining to them that family planning saves lives; it gives women opportunities to develop themselves, to build families and earn incomes, so they can have the number of children they can afford,” Dr. Babatunde said.

In Rwanda, the uptake of family planning services stands at 48 per cent, up from 45 per cent in 2010. Uptake is higher among educated women than uneducated women, according to the latest demographic and health survey, which was released by the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda recently.

UNFPA is the world’s largest provider of contraceptives, accounting for 42 per cent of all contraception procured by donors on behalf of developing countries. UNFPA convenes partners to help countries build stronger health systems and widen access to quality contraceptives and lifesaving medicines for maternal health.

By Maureen Twahirwa