BAMAKO, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Mali is set to launch a program aimed at increasing utilization of reproductive health and family planing services in four of the country's regions, the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) announced over the weekend.
The program which will be implemented in partnership with UNICEF and funded by the World Bank to the tune of 1.7 million U.S. dollars, will target Koulikoro, Segou, Sikasso and Bamako regions.
The program aims to have 300,000 women and adolescents aged between 15 to 49 years to start using family planing services in the 652 health centers, between now and February 2017.
"The adolescents and women will build trust in the reproductive health services available in the health centers. Consequently, they will be able to properly space child births in order to plan their families," Mali's Health Minister Dr. Marie Madeleine said.
A recent study revealed that fertility rate among adolescents and young girls aged between 15 and 19 years stands at 151 out of 1,000 and 36.5 percent of women aged between 20 to 24 years gave birth at least once before reaching the age of 18 years.
However, only 15.6 percent of Malian women use contraceptive methods, whether modern or traditional.
"To reach more women and adolescents, religious leaders, community leaders, youths, women as well as health workers will be used in awareness campaigns that will be launched," said Fran Equiza, the UNICEF representative in Mali.