Rwandan married couples living in rural areas have shown that they prefer to use injectable contraceptives than other contraceptive methods.
There are several popular methods for family planning which include use of implants, pills, use of condoms, vasectomy and self-control.
Despite women’s preference being Injectable contraceptives, for youth the most preferred methods are use of condoms and self-restraint.
The Government of Rwanda is putting more efforts in family planning campaign as the country is focusing on controlling the population growth which currently stands at over 12 million.
Joel Serucaca in charge of Reproductive Health at Rwanda Bio-medical Centre, told media this week that “Family Planning is a program that enables citizens and the country in general to put in place measures that lead to the slowdown of unsustainable population growth and resulting negative impacts on the economy, environmental and national development efforts.”
“The Government is committed to increase FP methods Choice including access to long-term methods by addressing missed opportunities in post-partum periods.” Serucaca revealed.
To better understand how really at the grassroots level the Family Planning and reproductive health are understood and what the most preferred methods for youth and married couples, TOPAFRICANEWS has randomly interviewed rural community in Kivuruga sector of Gakenke District.
Their responses showed that rural citizens have the primary information about the family planning and Reproductive Health at the highest level with the exception of adults aged above 60 years old whose responses showed that they are not even interested in Family Planning debates.
100% of interviewed of eight married couples said that they use injectable contraceptives than use of other methods like pills, implants, patch, use of condoms and ring among others.
No drastic impacts of contraceptives
The respondents also refute alleged claims that there are critical adverse effects as results of using FP methods especially for those who use injectable means.
Mukampunga Clotilde, 38 said that she tried to use pills twice to avoid pregnancy but later found that pills are not working well as she got pregnant while on the use of pills.
“At that time I found that use of pills is not the best method for me,” She said.
“I returned to the Health Centre and they gave me a long-term injectable contraceptive which is now helping me and my husband to avoid new babies” Mukampunga added
She said that it is almost five years using the methods and had never faced critical adverse effects except short period of nausea which has since then disappeared.
“I don’t agree with those who say that Injectable contraceptives critically affect their health. Not at all, I have been using this for almost five years and I never faced that.” She added.
Ndayambaje Deogratias is a 28 year’s old married man. He has two children and he and wife decided to limit the birth to avoid future impacts that may arise from having many children.
Ndayambaje noted that having more children that you can’t take care of causes drastic effects on the wellbeing of the Family.
“We have also agreed to use injectable method because we have seen that it is sustainable.
“You go at the Health centre and you choose depending on the agreed period whether it is a three month contraceptive or Five years. It is up to the couple to decide.” He explained.
Ndayambaje also is against those who criticize the method saying that “As a man if you are aware that your wife is using contraceptives, you need to give her healthy food and if not you are the one to be blamed for not taking care of your wife.”
Among youth aged between 18 and 25 also the ideas of contraceptives, reproductive health and Family planning are not new. Those interviewed believed that it is necessary to use Family planning methods for better future.
Asked which methods they prefer most, 100% of boys said that condoms are best way while for young girls, 80% prefer self-control vis a vis sexual desire and 20% pointed to the use of injectable contraceptives, pills and implants respectively.
Urwibutsorwurukundo Joselyne, 23, has completed the senior six and lives in Ruhinga cell with her family.
She said that everyone has his own way of understanding the concepts of Family planning and Reproductive Health.
“We learn that at school and even community health workers always talk about that during the village meeting.
“On whether I can use one of the methods of Family Planning, for me there is no reason to use them because I have decided to control my sexual desire until I get married. But if choose one, of course I can choose the injectable method because of its sustainability.” She said.
On his side, Tumukunde Jean Bosco, 21 said “As you see, young people are sexually active than adults, because I can’t be sure that one of the methods or another can’t have future effects on my reproductive system, that’s why I prefer use of condoms because it had nothing to do with my reproductive system except avoiding unpredicted pregnancy and HIV contamination.”
Gakenke District is one of the districts of Rwanda where the use of Family Planning is at the highest level.
Statistics show that the met need for contraceptives stands at 69, 6% at the District level. 47, 7% use injectable contraceptives. 158 men are using permanent contraceptives while the number of women using permanent contraceptives stands at 378 women.
The District expects that 90,269 citizens will use contraceptives as the will is increasing.
Gakenke has the population of 359,638.
The Director of Health in Gakenke District Hategekimana Theogene attributes the increasing number of the use of contraceptives to the continued sensitization of the citizens at all levels.
He said that many people are using injectable contraceptives because the method is very popular among the citizens as it is the oldest method that has been used in Rwanda for a long time.
“Injectable method is the first one that was introduced in Rwanda long time ago and because of that you will see everyone prefer that method and it has proved to have less secondary effects than other methods.” Hategikimana said.
Rwanda eyes 60% of permanent use of Family Planning methods among married women by 2024 while the unmet need for contraception remains too high as it stands at 19%.
The Ministry of Health is optimistic that as the years go on the number of people using Family planning methods of their choice will significantly increase.
Current statistics show that birth per women stands at 4.2 children.2232