‘THE phrase “family planning” will disappear from the ministerial structure, as China grapples with a shrinking labor pool and rapidly ageing population’. This statement caught most people by surprise when it was announced recently and for a good reason too.
For many, they will know the tough stance that China put in place to control the growing population in their country, where the country’s family planning commission, for nearly four decades, enforced the country’s notorious one-child policy.
In Tanzania, however, the case is still different, with the country still grappling with various methods of family planning, where Tanzania plans to double the number of family planning users to 4.2 million by 2020 to reach a contraceptive prevalence rate of 60 percent for all methods.
The concept of family planning in Tanzania is not new. What is new is the contraceptive methods which are given as part and parcel of the Maternal and Child Health services in a medical setting.
Child spacing, as we call it in Tanzania, has been practiced from time immemorial throughout the length and breadth of Tanzania.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined family planning (FP) as a method that allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births.
Family planning is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility, and is a key component of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.
Despite the health and social benefits to mothers, their children and communities of good access to quality family planning services, global data shows that an estimated 215 million women of reproductive age who are married or in a union have an unmet need for family planning.
In Tanzania, while the support on training CHWs started since independence, yet there has been insignificant improvement on CHW capacity to provide health services over decades.
In this respect, CHW can play a key role in the delivery of community health because they work closely with the village and the district authorities to whom they report, monitor pregnant women and children under five years, and are able to identify potential risks for the health of mothers and newborns/children.