After succeeding in raising its contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) in the past five years, the Mara Regional leaders recently directed all its local government authorities (LGAs) to set aside 5% of its budget towards improving family planning services.
A letter dated February 28, 2017 containing the directive and signed on behalf of the Mara Regional Administrative Secretary, expressed concern over the slow pace in CPR growth at national and regional level, and underscored the need for intensifying efforts to improve family planning performance.
Mara’s move is exemplary and underscores leadership commitment to own and promote family planning. Mara is also one of the leading regions that have been successful in recording a major leap in CPR increase from 13% in 2010 to 29% in 2015-16, according to the Tanzania Health and Demographic Survey, Malaria Indicator Survey (TDHS-MIS 2015-16).
Located in the Lake Zone, Mara is among 12 regions that the Advance Family Planning (AFP) project has been working in since 2015. LGAs in the regions have strived to allocate between 2% and 5% of their district and health budgets, respectively to family planning. The directive therefore is meant to ensure sustained efforts to the family planning agenda.
AFP through its partners – Health Promotion Tanzania (HDT) and Tanzania Communication and Development Centre (TCDC) – has successfully engaged about 72 LGAs in phases with the majority of them heading to the call by making budget allocations and commitments from their own resources.
In 2017/18 financial year, fourty-four 44 LGAs in 6 Regions – Kigoma, Tabora, Dar es Salaam, Coast, Katavi and Manyara- have allocated 2% of their ‘own’ funds for family planning services in the 2017/18. Investment in family planning is critical in reducing the high fertility of about six children per woman in reproductive age contributing to Tanzania’s rapid annual population growth rate of 2.7%.