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“Family planning must be available to every woman who needs it, including adolescent girls” – Health Minister

WINDHOEK, Namibia  - “Women and girls need to have access to suitable, reliable and effective family planning methods and commodities to plan for birth spacing and prevent unintended and teenage pregnancies,” the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, said at the handing over of the health commodities and basic medical equipment UNFPA Namibia Country Office donated to the ministry on 12 February 2020.

“Family planning must be available to every women who needs it including adolescent girls.

“Family planning must be available to every woman who needs it including adolescent girls. The donation is only the first of its kind. We are expecting more. We are very grateful,” Shangula said.

The donation worth more than N$8,5 million in reproductive health commodities included 360 000 male condoms, 200 000 injectables, 100,000 oral pills, 200,000 syringes,  24,900 implantable contraceptives and some basic medical equipment that included adult scales, heart dopplers, otoscopes, sphygmomanometers and speculums among others. The ministry also received 10 clinical management kits for rape victims that can serve 600 women and children.

The UNFPA Country Representative Dennia Gayle hands over reproductive
health and basic medical equipment to health minister Dr. Kalumbi Shangula.
© UNFPA NAMIBIA/Emma Mbekele

Shangula said in the past, the implants were only available in the private sector, but now, they are also accessible in public health facilities. “The utilization of modern family planning methods is a clear sign that the ministry is being responsive to women's health needs and constantly improves access and quality of services provided in public health facilities,” he said.

According to the Namibian Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) of 2013, only 50.2 per cent of women of reproductive age (15- 49 years) use some form of family planning method. This number varies widely, according to geographic areas, habitation, level of education and income. The donation will be distributed to various regions across the country and aims to end unmet need for family planning and reduce maternal deaths especially among rural women.

“We trust the donation will enhance the delivery of sexual reproductive health services to adolescent girls and young women especially those in hard to reach areas.

“We trust the donation will enhance the delivery of sexual reproductive health services to adolescent girls and young women especially those in hard to reach areas,” UNFPA Representative Dennia Gayle said.

The donation comprises training models to ensure that healthcare workers are
capacitated with technical know-how. © UNFPA NAMIBIA/Emma Mbekele

 “The current high incidents of teenage pregnancies in the country, [Namibia stands at 19%] and the prominence of new HIV infections among adolescents and particularly young women, it is clear that we needed to take action,” said Gayle.

Gayle added that UNFPA strongly believes that investing in adolescents and young people, sexual and reproductive health, including ensuring access to contraceptives, is the smartest investment Namibia can make. “We need our young people to stay in school, build their skills and competencies and prepare for a labour market that is vibrant and efficient,” said Gayle.

UNFPA partners with governments, program donors and non-governmental organisations that benefit from the volume pricing and quality assurance that come with products procured from UNFPA suppliers. UNFPA Country Office and Government of Namibia are finding synergy with the Procurement Services Branch (PSB) as it offers services that ensure the best value for money, fairness, integrity, and transparency based on partnership experiences and Long Terms Agreements (LTAS) with vendors from all over the world.

The UNFPA Product Catalogue contains a variety of quality-assured contraceptives, medical equipment and devices, pharmaceuticals, and kits related to reproductive health as well as census supplies and humanitarian supplies for use in crisis situations. The Catalogue is online at UNFPA Procurement Services it is updated regularly, providing the most recent product information and current pricing. The UNFPA Procurement Services website features easy to navigate menus, and interactive tools including the Lead-time Calculator, Budget Planner Tool, and the Product Catalogue.

Emma Mbekele