Special Correspondent senators have tasked Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente with revising co-ordination of strategies on implementation of family planning and reproductive health programmes while also cautioning against complacency.
Appearing recently before the senate plenary session, the head of government was asked to explain identified gaps and lack of co-ordination by public institutions in reducing the country’s fertility rate, which is currently at 4.6 per cent.
A senatorial committee in charge of social affairs that has been going around the country to see first-hand how local governments have been addressing issues around family planning, faulted the government on the implementation of strategies relating to birth spacing, access to contraceptive services among others.
Senator Gallican Niyongana, chairperson of the committee, said planning, service provision, weakness in mobilisation around family planning are scattered when it comes to implementation, from ministries, to parastatals down to the lowest public agency.
“In our outreach programmes, we realised that some of the ongoing programmes on family planning like spacing and usage of contraceptive methods were crucial, but had met serious challenges and could not be pushed further and that put everything else on hold.
“These agencies speak differently on family planning programme, there are things you don’t know who to ask, like who is answerable, and whoever is in charge of planning does not work closely with the person in charge of mobilization and so on,” said Mr Niyongana.
He added that there is a need for a special organ to co-ordinate all activities and strengthen social cluster platforms that are already in place, but have been failing to identify key challenges in family planning.
Mr Niyongana further said that in terms of co-ordination, local governments need to consider the statistics since many of the projects done at lower levels of government fail to contextualize the population growth.
“When you ask a local leader at the sector level, how they are matching planning vis a vis the population growth in their areas,” he said.
Reports from the Rwanda National Institute of Statistics (NISR), showed that this year alone population rate grew by 2.7 per cent from the previous year, which put the population rate at 12,089,721 million people.
The government projects fertility rate to reduce from the current 4.6 per cent to 2.3 per cent in 2050, when the population growth would have reached 22.1 million people.
Prime Minister Ngirente said despite the government campaigning about proper family planning, it cannot regulate birth or institute a one or two-child policy.