Saturday, January 26, 2013

Senegal seeks to curb the baby boom

Only 12% of Senegalese women use contraceptives, Senegal’s Health and Social Action Minister Professor Awa Marie Coll Seck told a family planning conference in London last year. Family planning is taboo in many parts of West Africa, especially in rural communities where illiteracy is rife and awareness about family planning services – let alone access to contraception and birth control – is non-existent
Coll-Seck, who confessed that the country’s current contraceptive prevalence rate is one of the lowest in the world, says her government’s vision is to move the needle from 12 to 27 per cent by 2015
In a bid to create awareness and break down the stereotypes surrounding contraception, the government launched a national day of family planning action late last year
The plan comes not a minute too soon: according to Coll-Seck, one woman out of two has expressed the desire to space births but does not have access to family planning products and services

But not everyone is supportive of the new government initiative. Religious leaders like Al-Haj Ibrahima Dieng (61) believes such practices “are anti-pislamic”
“allah is the one who gives (us) children and he’s in charge of providing everything for them, to enable them to grow healthy and strong,” an incensed Dieng, father of 15 children, “and you want to stop that from happening? I swear by Allah that I will never be part of such nonsense. It’s haram”
Though such opinions are widespread among the country’s conservative religious majority, not all religious leaders share Dieng’s anti-contraception sentiments
News report here.