By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Kunle Adeniyi, the Head of Office of United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) for the Gambia, has said that they (UNFPA) don’t want a situation where women are dying during child birth.
The UNFPA’s head of Office said they have lost so many women during child birth and one of the ways to prevent this is family planning.
“We don’t want a situation where mothers are dying. Family planning services are available and we will help to bring these services closer to you”, he said.
Mr. Adeniyi made those remarks at the launching of a three days Family Planning Campaign in Farafenni, Upper Baddibu District of North Bank Region organized by UNFPA.
The Head of UNFPA urged the people to ask questions about how they can space their children.
The theme of the campaign is dubbed “Family Planning: Yes to choice, No to chance”.
With the nature of the country’s population coupled with the low contraceptive prevalent rate (CPR) and high needs for family planning contraceptives and commodities, the population will continue to be a dependent population making it increasingly unlikely to ever harness the Demographic Dividend in the Gambia.
According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), 41% of women aged 20-49 are married by age 18 indicating a high rate of child marriage with risks of longer lifetime fertility and its consequences on socio-economic development. With a current total fertility rate of 5.6 as per the DHS 2013, contraceptive prevalent rate (CPR) of 9% and unmet need for family planning of 24%; the population is projected to double by 2030
Scaling up family planning programing can greatly support the country in harnessing the Demographic Dividend and ultimately reducing poverty.
Family planning is the most effective and feasible intervention that can reduce maternal death in a relatively short period of time. Access to it especially, to women in hard to reach communities can help reduce mortalities, reduce poverty rate and promote healthier families.
The campaign targets young women and men both in and out of schools in Farafenni.
Officially opening the campaign Mr. Ansu Tamba Jammeh, the Chief of Upper Baddibu, described the campaign as laudable. He said mortalities at birth are their concern.
He urged the people to listen attentively so that when they go back they can disseminate the message.
Alhagie Karaba Keita, the Regional Health Director of North Bank East, said it is important for each and everyone to know that when we talk about family planning, it is not to discourage people from having children but for them to know when and how to have children so that they can give them good upbringing.
The North Bank Regional Health Director implored on the people to listen attentively and participate actively in the campaign so that they can disseminate the message to their families. He thanked UNFPA for funding the program.
The campaign included free Cervical Cancer screening and HIV/AIDS testing and counselling.