WHILE according to the World Health Organizations (WHO) that most countries have made great strides to increase their access to and voluntary use of family planning, myths and misconception still hinder the campaign in Zanzibar.
That was said yesterday here by Sheikh Fadhil Soraga, adding : “Islam allows family planning because there are verses in the Quran (Muslims Holly book) such as breastfeed a baby for two consecutive years.
It is unfortunate, that we still have people with misconception.” Sheikh Soraga said that with such negative perception in the public, a challenge in reducing maternal and child mortality would not be addressed.
Mr Soraga made the comment while presiding over a one-day workshop organized by the ‘Jiongeze Tuwavushe Salama’ as a seminar for religious leaders to get fully involved in the campaign to reduce maternal and child mortality deaths in the country.
“Through collaborations along with increased awareness we can definitely make changes,” he pointed out. The seminar held in the Island was a continuation of other similar workshops for other groups, including editors, journalists and religious leaders to sensitize the public to get engaged in reducing maternal and child mortality deaths.
The United Republic of Tanzania (include Zanzibar) is among the top ten countries globally with highest child and maternal mortality, which prompted the launch of the ‘Jiongeze Tuwavushe Salama’ project being coordinated by the ‘True Vision Production (TVP)’ to be set up and joined with UNICEF Tanzania and the Union Ministry of Health, Community Development, gender, Elderly and Children.
However, in a brief presentation made by Mr Abdulrahman Kwaza from Zanzibar’s Health Ministry, participants were told that according to a survey made in 2018, the maternal prevalence was 191/100,000 live births high from the target to reduce to at least 110/100,000 live births.
He said Zanzibar government has been improving health facilities by increasing the number of its skilled workers and better equipping them, adding : “Now there are more pregnant mothers who visit Hospitals than in the past, but it is unfortunate that acceptance of family planning still remains a challenge as only 14 percent of women capable of conceiving are on family planning.”
Mr Kwaza observed that the ongoing ‘Jiongeze Tuwavushe Salama’ campaign was good and anticipated to bring changes.