Population control and family planning propaganda

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THE United Nations Family Planning Agency’s (UNFPA), in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) last week introduced a family planning model.
The UNFPA model, which emphasised on the increased distribution and provision of long-term contraceptive methods in the country claims to effectively reduce the child and maternal mortality rates significantly by 2020.
The booklet was availed amid population control and family planning debates in which Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede is reported to have advocated a Government ban on contraceptives.
The Registrar-General is quoted to have said contraceptives were killing productivity in women and affecting the country’s population growth.
The Government since independence has invested heavily in family planning programmes, mainly contraceptives to control population growth.
Health authorities, who are mostly in partnership with the international organisations that provide not only the funding, but the statistics, could however not dispute that some of the effects of contraceptives include low sex drive and difficulties in conceiving long after the shot has expired.
Midwives and health practitioners are aware of this predicament such that there is now an unwritten rule that, long term contraceptives like the ‘Norplant’ will not be administered to young mothers planning on having more children in the near future.
A study in 2011 revealed that 12 million women in eastern and southern Africa use Depo-Provera which constitutes to six percent of the productive population while in America it is used by less than 1,2 million women of colour or those from poor communities constituting only 3,2 percent of their productive sector.
The model availed at the Rainbow Towers in the capital mentions how population control will promote economic development and prevent an average of 2 100 maternal deaths per year from 2014 to 2020.
The Minister of HoHCC, Dr David Parirenyatwa in his speech read by Dr Milton Chemhuri said, “The MoHCC is committed to accelerate progress towards attaining MDG5 by ensuring family planning is at the top of the social and economic development agenda of the country.”
He said through family planning provisions to women, the Government would also tackle the alarming numbers of unwanted pregnancies which stand at 780 000 in the county.
This is despite the fact that these children are not a burden on the country’s economy as the country does not have a proper functional social services budget.
The statistics mentioned at that forum do not mention that these productive
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mothers could die from the side effects of these contraceptives.
The United States, Food and Drug Administration in 2004 issued a warning on Depo-Provera.
According to the authority use of the drug, “may cause one to lose calcium stored in the bones.
“The longer you use Depo-Provera, the more calcium you are likely to lose.
“The calcium may not return completely once you stop using Depo-Provera.
“Loss of calcium may cause weak bones that could increase the risk that your bones might break, especially after menopause.”
The authority further warned that other possible side effects include excessive weight gain, bleeding irregularities, breast cancer, ectopic pregnancy, blood clots and depression.
There is a tendency by drug manufacturers and international organisations that advocate for these drugs on their behalf to provide half truths about contraceptives and more importantly, population control.
The UNFPA defined family planning (FP) as, “the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans.
“FP is most usually applied to a female-male couple who wish to limit the number of children they have and/or to control the timing of pregnancy (also known as spacing children).”
Family planning may encompass sterilisation, and abortion.
Such methods are often encouraged in developing countries, not the developed.
A study by the same organisations revealed that if the European population does not increase, it will find its population reduced to 59 million by 2053.
The origins of population control began during colonial times by a man called Thomas Malthus who warned that unless the population in the colonies was not controlled, the foreign powers would find themselves besieged.
The director of the United States security council, Henry Kissinger in 1972 released a classified report detailing the need to depopulate the least developed countries (LDCs).
The report dubbed, ‘National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM200),’ states that, “it is of ‘paramount importance’ and ‘national interest’ to control population and promote contraception use among the LDCs.
“U.S economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad.”
The report stated that a growing population in LDCs would produce destabilising oppositional forces against the United States.
It recommended that US leadership ‘influence national leaders’ and that, “improved world-wide support for population-related efforts should be sought through increased emphasis on mass media and other population education and motivation programmes by the UN, USIA, and USAID.”
At the rate that industrial countries are producing, it has been noted that they will need more resources from LDC’s than ever before.
Unfortunately Zimbabwe and many other LDC’s at a London Summit on Family Planning pledged to intensify its efforts in family planning initiatives.
This is because statistics revealed by the model claim that Zimbabwe can save an average of US$111 million by 2020 through the reduction of births and provision of health services to pregnant women.
According to the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council’s statistics, 58 percent of women who have reached the child bearing age use contraceptives.
Ideally UNFPA argues that by 2020, 68 percent of child-bearing age women should be using long-term contraceptive methods.
However, in the MoHCC’s defence, supporting family planning in the country was aimed at reducing child and maternal mortality rates which were now at an alarming high of 84/1000 and 960/100 000 respectively.
In its pure form, family planning is not a bad idea, since it simply says; “have as many children as you can support.”

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