Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Manicaland will need to adopt a holistic approach in solving continued high teenage pregnancy, which resulted in the province failing to meet part of its set contributions to the Zimbabwe Family Planning Strategy (2016-2020).
The province has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country at 27 percent, which is above the national average of 22 percent.
According to the Strategy, the province was supposed to work on reducing this to 12 percent by 2020.
Speaking at an adolescence sexual reproductive health (ASRH) forum held in Mutare last week, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) provincial manager Mr Dyson Masvingise said some of the targets of the strategy that were not met would be carried over in the extended strategy.
“The prevalence rate for teenage pregnancies has always been high for Manicaland. The province is among the four provinces with a prevalence rate higher than the national rate of 22 percent. We want to reduce this from 27 percent to 12 percent but this will not be easy work,” he said.
“A lot of concerted effort needs to be put into place otherwise all the hard work that we have been doing might amount to nothing. We as stakeholders need to put all our effort towards this. The strategy document might be extended and we will amend strategic areas that were achieved.”
The Family Planning Strategy provides a framework by which the Government seeks to meet its family planning 2020 commitments made at the London FP global summit in 2012. Zimbabwe affirmed its recognition of the right to quality reproductive health services for women and girls.
However, despite the high pregnancy rates, the province managed to surpass its target to increase the supply of contraceptives to 68 percent by 2020.
Mr Masvingise said that target had been reached last year.
He said because of the Covid 19 pandemic and financial challenges being faced in the country, Government has not been able to release funds for contraceptives, leaving only the donor community to fill in the gap.
“We only rely on donors for the commodities we receive like control secure and other contraceptives. We need a direct injection from Government so that the service is ramped up instead of just relying on donors,” he added.