Budget trend for family planning
As members of parliament get ready for the 2017/18 budget session, advocates for family planning are pleading for a higher allocation for family planning. While commending the government for recently announcing a 7bn Tanzanian shillings (Tshs) allocation of FP in 2017/18, representing a 2bn Tshs rise from the current financial year, some members of the Tanzania Coalition for Demographic Awareness and Action (TCDAA) appealed for more given the dwindling donor support.
“With the US government, a major donor in RMNCAH programs worldwide, cutting its funding to UNFPA, a key global actor, family planning programs will more likely be negatively impacted,” a TCDAA member said. This would be felt in the area of commodity supply, as well as capacity strengthening initiatives that have steadily contributed to increased number of family planning providers.
Although Tanzania is making progress in infant, child and under-5 mortality according to the 2015-16 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicator Survey (TDHS-MIS), the indicators for maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy have worsened over time. A comparison of the indicators from TDHS reports shows below:
Evidence abound on the association of family planning and maternal mortality where the latter can be reduced by 44%. Investing in family planning also contributes to reduction of teenage pregnancy rates. Although there has been an encouraging trend (figure below) on the government keeping its FP2020 promise – to increase resources for family planning – the allocated and disbursed amounts over the years fall short of an estimated need of 20 billion Tshs as per the National Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan (NFPCIP) 2010 – 2015.
Advocates are therefore, calling upon the government to increase 5 billion Tshs every financial year between 2017/18 to 2020/21 with a targeted allocation for the latter estimated at 22 billion Tshs. Conversely, Local Government Authorities also ought to increase their allocations and disbursements to strengthen family planning program reach and provide oversight on sustained contraceptive availability as well as demand generation. These efforts will enhance Tanzania’s resolve to accelerate its attainment of a 45% and 60% targets for contraceptives modern, and all methods, respectively and meet its commitment to reduce maternal mortality to 293/100,000 by 2020.