Special Seats lawmaker Dr Mary Mwanjelwa has stressed the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to development planning to ensure real investment in the area of reproductive health and family planning.
She said this when opening a seminar for journalists from local and international media houses on reproductive health, family planning and HIV/Aids integration in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
She said Tanzania, like other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, was grappling with a low contraceptive prevalence rate, currently at 27 per cent of all married women, compared to the national target of 60 per cent by 2015.
She said the government had to strive to ensure that integrated services are realized through injection of more finds in reproductive health services, mainly in family planning. “Family planning is more important because it is the pillar of safe motherhood”, she said.
According to her, the funds will also ensure better equipment and drugs necessary for safe delivery and skilled staff, thus reducing maternal and child deaths. Dr Mwanjelwa said sound policy decisions and political commitments should rally partners in the public and private sector to increase resources for family planning, reproductive health and HIV/Aids to enable Tanzania attain its targeted goals as stipulated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Development Vision 2025.
She said Members of the Parliament, through the Parliamentary Family Club, which was launched on July 2011 in collaboration with other institutions, will push for increased equity in accessing health services, especially among the poor and the marginalized.
“Parliamentarians should increase commitment to support family planning as a critical development agenda,” she noted.
Meanwhile, a participant, Mwamoyo Hamza from the Voice of America (VOA) Kiswahili service, has said that health news has been given less priority in the media.
He called on journalists to prioritize health news because without health nothing can be done. He said most media focused on politics and economic news stories, sidelining health articles despite their importance.