The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development has implored the Ministry of Health and Child Care to have a budget line specifically dedicated to family planning issues under the collective budget for reproductive health rather than relying on outside donors.

Family planning is considered one of the key pillars in safe motherhood and has also proven to increase equity between women and their partners.

Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Health and Child Care and UNFPA officials held deliberations on how best family planning issues can be taken on board as a budgetary line item as opposed to the current set up where it is being factored in under the collective budget for reproductive health.

Chairperson of the committee, Cde Felix Mhona said the obtaining situation is not favourable as the budgetary support for the contraceptives and consumables is being funded by donors.

“As a committee we will advocate for this bid to support family planning initiatives in the country and also we have recommended to the UNFPA who funded this workshop to enhance such platforms for continuous engagement, the committee, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance for the support of such a noble cause,” said Cde Mhona.

Deputy Director Family Health in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr David Zoyashe Makosa indicated that there is no specific funding for family planning with about 3.7 percent earmarked for family planning coming from the aids levy and airtime tax.

“We are grateful for the support that we currently have which supports family planning administratively, but we are calling and advocating for support by government for commodity security. Currently our commodity supply purchasing security is donor dependent. So we are advocating that we have a budget allocation from the national fiscus that speaks for commodity security for family planning commodities,” Dr Makosha said.

Other countries in the region have budgetary support for family planning and are now calling for increased engagement of men to share the responsibility for family planning and reproductive health with women.

Men have always dominated household decision-making around family size, contraception and access to or use of health services.