ARUSHA, Tanzania, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The Tanzanian government said Wednesday it would raise the family planning budget by 60 percent as it seeks to meet the growing demand for such service in the country.
Ummy Mwalimu, the east African nation's Minister for Health, told the Parliament that the government will spend a total of 9.9 million U.S. dollars on family planning during the 2018 financial year, up from 6.6 million U.S. dollars in 2017.
According to the minister, the government was now focusing on Simiyu, Geita, Mwanza, Shinyanga, Tabora, Kigoma and Katavi regions where usage of family planning methods are below the recommended national average of 32 percent.
Mwalimu noted that although the country's family planning requirement stands at 16 million U.S. dollars, it was also worth noting that the government has been raising the budget for family planning purposes every year.
"We spent 3 million U.S. dollars in the 2016 fiscal year and doubled it to 6.6 million U.S. dollars in 2017. We are also working with several stakeholders to ensure availability of essential medicines across the country," she noted.
According to Mwalimu, family planning services are now available at all hospitals, dispensary, and health centers across Tanzania.
She said the situation is worrying as 14 percent of girls and 9 percent of boys below 15 years old engage in sexual relationships, and her ministry has started to educate school girls on the negative impacts of engaging in sexual relationship at early ages.
"Our aim is to control early pregnancies which now stand at 27 percent," she said.