On July 11, 2012, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UK DFID) announced that it would invest 23.11 million USD over the next four years to improve family planning services in Zambia. The announcement came after a high level summit on family planning in London that included global experts as well as Zambia’s First Lady Christine Kaseba and Community Development, Mother and Child Health Minister Joseph Katema, and Zambia’s High Commissioner to the UK Bizwayo Nkinika.
Aside from the UK’s pledge of financial assistance, Dr. Katema made many promises that involve on the ground improvements for family planning in Zambia. Dr. Katema said that Zambia would improve universal access in rural areas (which includes the majority of its population), and would double its budgetary allocation for family planning services to reach those vulnerable rural areas. Dr. Katema also said that the Zambian Government has committed to increasing contraceptive coverage from 33-58% through policy changes, a significant increase of financial resources allocation to family planning and improving delivery.
The last portion of the Zambian government’s plan, improving delivery, is especially important because 6 women die in Zambia from pregnancy related causes for every 1,000 deliveries. Also important to note, one third of these pregnancies are unwanted. The access to family planning care can decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies, decrease the number of maternal deaths from pregnancy related complications, and in turn decrease the average family size in Zambia. The average family size in Zambia is currently over six children, which is far greater than other countries in the region. Having a large family can be beneficial at times, with more children helping out in the field or working to give your family great financial assurance. However, having a large family can also be detrimental- it means more mouths to feed, and less money to spend per child or daily necessities.
With increased family planning, women in Zambia will also become more empowered. Access to contraception means that power will be split between the man and women in a relationship- family planning will not be so male dominated. This empowerment of women could also lead to women having the opportunity to pursue a job, as there will be up to one third less unplanned pregnancies keeping women in the home taking care of children.
Overall, family planning is a basic fundamental step that will help any developing country grow and prosper, and the aid that Zambia is receiving from London is certain to help the country’s plans succeed.
Link to article: http://allafrica.com/stories/201207120486.html