By Evance Odhiambo
Family planning has been considered as a key mechanism of promoting productive, sustainable and equitable development in urban Africa, including intermediary cities.
Financing at municipal or city level including removing bottlenecks in family planning are therefore considered as key ingredients to this course in urban Africa.
Speaking during a session that was unearthing why family planning is critical to urban development at the ongoing Africities Summit in Kisumu, Kenya Dr. James Duminy of University of Cape Town in South Africa noted that the rapid population growth of African cities, accompanied by inequitable access to family planning information and services, challenges the delivery of physical infrastructure and social services.
‘’We urge African leaders to allocate more resources towards family planning to increase access to quality family planning services that enable sustainable urban development for their citizens,” said Dr. Duminy.
Noting that most populous urban areas in Africa are often undeveloped forcing majority to reside in shanty with poor access to key amenities, he said family planning services should be allocated sustainable budget at both national and local governments in Africa.
Hon. Shiloo Abdulrahaman Omari who is the Mayor of Tanga City in Tanzania said that future urban growth will take place in smaller and intermediary African cities hence the need for urban areas to have potential to promote significant reproductive health including family planning.
He urged African countries that have overcome obstacles on family planning financing to share experiences among policy makers to promote effective collaboration for seamless and sustained implementation of family planning in order to attract high-impact interventions.
“City leadership should show political commitment by creating a favorable environment for every player working in the family planning sector,” say Hon. Shiloo.
In West Africa, Burkina Faso has put up measures that help in promoting family planning. Senior Advocacy Manager at Ouagadougou Partnership, a non-state actor in Burkina Faso’s capital, Dr. Mme Djenebou Diallo said that the government ensures that national data systems allow social and partial disaggregation to ensure effective urban demographic analysis, including fertility and demographic change.
“In Burkina Faso, there is an inter-sectoral approach and collaborations between family planning and urban planning. Experts from relevant ministries put their heads together to ensure proper planning,’’ said Dr. Diallo.
Dr. Diallo however noted that cultural and religious beliefs are some of the factors hindering family planning both at the urban and rural Africa.
Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health in Nigeria urged Civil Society Organizations to team up and accumulate resources that can realize desired goals as a way of helping the African governments to ensure proper family planning in urban Africa.
Urban focused NGOs with interest in gender should expand their remit to include promoting access to safe, quality and affordable family planning, Dr. Ogboye said.
He noted that civil society should engage the community on family planning uptake and empower citizens to hold their governments accountable to public resources and service delivery.
‘’Donors should also assist with capacity building through the NGOs to help promote family planning and make the urban dwellers understand urban demographic change. This can be achieved through providing technical support or facilitating networks of learning,’’ said Dr. Ogboye.