“Family planning helps women to take care of their children so they grow up healthy, and it gives women time to work and do other duties in the community”.
With over 30 years of experience as a midwife working in the Tanzanian health sector, nothing fazes Zuwaina. As well as looking after the health of pregnant women and children, she also works on educating women and breaking down misconceptions around family planning.
“Before a woman would go on having up to 12 or 13 children, now because of family planning she will stop at seven or eight”.
Zuwaina goes on to describe incidences where she has provided contraception to a woman, like an implant or an IUD, and then found herself facing the wrath of an angry husband insisting it be removed because he thinks his wife will become sterile or sick.
“Quite often women have family planning in secret without involving their men, because most of the men are against contraception. They think it adds to the women’s health problems.
UK support to Marie Stopes Tanzania is helping health workers like Zuwaina to inform, educate and provide access to family planning for women, and men. Providing access to contraception empowers people to shape their own lives, makes families healthier and helps lift entire countries out of poverty.
On 11 July the UK will co-host an international summit on family planning in London with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The summit will bring together partners from around the world and aims to boost global commitments to increase access to family planning services for women and girls in the world’s poorest countries. For more information visit the Summit website: summit2017.familyplanning2020.org
Picture: Sheena Ariyapala/Department for International Development