Government committed to work in partnership

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Government has reaffirmed its commitment to support efforts by cooperating partners aimed at addressing the many socio-economic challenges faced in communities.

Speaking during the launch of the Scaling Up Family Planning (SUFP) program, Milenge District Commissioner, Mumba Mushitu said remote and rural districts welcomed the role that other stakeholders play in supplementing government efforts to enhance the well-being of its people.

Mr Mushitu said many problems encountered and experienced in most rural communities needed concerted efforts by all partners with government so as to uplift the living standards of people.

He said even though Milenge district currently had eight health centers  that are offering some form of family planning services in the district the integrated Health Indicators were not encouraging as it lies among the 26 least performing in the country.

According to Milenge District Health Office, the Central Statistics Office  (CSO)projection in 2012 indicated that out of the  10,426  women of child bearing age between 18-49 years, only 4,102 accessed family planning services representing 39.3 percent contrary to the set standard of 60 percent.

The district however recorded a slight drop in maternal mortality last year at 195 out of 100,000 against 244 out of 100,000 in 2011.

The District Commissioner thanked the British government through DFID SUFP and all cooperating partners for identifying and picking Milenge as one of the three districts in Luapula province to scale up family planning.

And DFID Health Advisor Meena Gandhi said health services information such as family planning needed to be within reach of communities in order to reduce unplanned pregnancies.

Dr Gandhi said high maternal mortality was also the result of lack of full information and access to family planning services and making unplanned pregnancies to sometimes lead to death in childbirth especially among the rural folk.

She called for scaled up sensitization and family planning services in order to bridge the information gap.

SUFP Country Program Director Christopher Mazimba said complications arising during child births and lack of child spacing were negatively impacting the health and life of women consequently affecting the socio-economic realm of the family.