DAR-ES-SALAAM, AN insufficient budget allocation for family planning remains a major hindrance to reducing maternal deaths in Tanzania, says a member of Parliament, Dr Faustine Ndugulile, a member of the Parliamentary Association on Population and Development (TPAPD).
The MP for Kigamboni says that to put things in perspective, five billion shillings (about 1.4 million US dollars) is the highest amount Tanzania could ever afford to hold back these needless deaths.
He estimates that the annual funding for family planning in the country now stands at 20 billion shillings but the highest amount of funds allocated and released between 2010/11 and 2015/16 was a paltry five billion, or just 25 per cent of what is needed.
Statistics show that Tanzania has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, with the current ratio at 454 deaths per 100,000 live births. This implies that more than 20 women die every day because of complications during pregnancy or at birth.
Conversely, some 40,000 children die during the first 28 days of life, while 100,000 die before reaching the age of five. About 50,000 are stillborn with half of them dying during delivery, the MP said.
Despite insufficient budget allocations, the National Family Planning Costed Implementation Programme (NFPCIP) aims to reduce maternal deaths through Family Planning (FP) by reaching an ambitious Goal of 60 per cent Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) by 2015.
Dr Ndugulile added that insufficient budget had been denying many women in the reproductive age contraceptives for successful family planning.
The local government authorities are overwhelmed by other priorities and not paying attention to family planning and its contribution to development agenda, said Dr Ndugulile.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK