Harare – Zimbabwe has made remarkable progress in contraceptive use by women and girls of reproductive age, with the country’s Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) rising from 59 per cent in 2010 to the current 67 per cent.
This is one of the highest on the continent but there remains unmet need for family planning by women and girls in the country, particularly those in rural areas and often young, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said on Tuesday in a statement.
The UNFPA attributed Zimbabwe’s high CPR to short-term methods, in particular the pill.
Unmet need for family planning among married couples is 10 percent in urban areas, 11 per cent in rural areas, while unmet need for young people is 12.6 per cent, according to the UNFPA.
“As Zimbabwe commemorates World Population Day, the United Nations Population Fund and its partners are calling for greater efforts to end this unmet need for family planning,” the UN said.
The UNFPA said providing women and young girls with information on family planning empowered them to make sound decisions that ultimately save their lives.
The Zimbabwe National Family Council executive director Munyaradzi Murwira said there is need for Zimbabwe to strengthen the availability of a broad range of family planning methods including long-acting ones.
“There is still need to expand contraceptive choice with access to a large variety of contraceptive methods that work over a longer time such as implants,” he said.
He said family planning was not about limiting couples but allowing them the choice on when to have children, the number and how to space them.
“There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that family planning can be a development strategy for improving health and wellbeing, reducing poverty and empowering women,” he said.
“We must therefore work hard to end unmet need for family planning.”