Political Will, Health Concerns, Increased Funding Driving Family Planning In Africa, Report Says

The Nairobi-based African Institute for Development Policy on Tuesday presented a report called “Africa on the Move!” at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, VOA News reports, noting the report “says that in some African countries, political will, maternal and child health concerns as well as more and more funding are helping to develop effective family planning.” According to VOA, “Steve McDonald, the host of the event and Africa director at the Wilson Center, said partnerships between governments and religious organizations, which sometimes provide the bulk of health services in remote areas, are also crucial.”

“One of the authors, Violet Murunga, said having a country’s top leadership champion the cause of family planning is essential,” VOA writes, adding, “She said it is important for governments to start not only talking about family planning, but also spending on programs for actual implementation.” The news service discusses family planning in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Malawi and highlights several challenges to family planning on the continent. “Catholic clerics and other religious leaders in Africa oppose the use of contraceptives and abortions to limit family sizes,” VOA writes, adding, “Panelists said other challenges included the very young age at which girls marry in countries such as Niger, where the fertility rate is still estimated to be over seven births per woman” (Colombant, 6/5).