Kirehe, is one of 30 districts in Rwanda. Within this district of the Western Province, a number of husbands do not allow their spouses to apply family planning. This situation becomes a source of misunderstanding thus creating permanent conflicts and resulting in poverty for many families of this district. This situation is confirmed by local leaders who tirelessly try to find a way forward to solving this problem.
Even if no thorough research was conducted to find out the exact number of families with this problem, Uwanyirigira Flora, the coordinator of National Women Council in Kirehe District, confirms that some women regret to have 10 to 12 children without sufficient means to look after their descendants.
Mukagasana Gerturde, a nurse in charge of family planning at Kirehe District Hospital, informs Family Magazine that some women after being denied by their husbands to use contraceptive methods, prefer to do it without consent of their husbands and decide to keep forms outside the family in order to hide that situation.
When their husbands discover it, conflicts start in their families. Some men are not yet conscious about the need of family planning and some others do not want to hear that program.
In some families with eight (8) children, some do not go to school, paying health fees becomes impossible, feeding is done once per day, and conflicts become permanent.
Jean Claude Umuganwa, married with Kabasinga Alice. He informs Family Magazine that husbands have their raisons to deny their wives to use contraceptive methods. “These methods create changes in wives body and then create sexual problems when fulfilling marital duties.” said Umuganwa.
This is against the Provisions of Human Rights and especially the Maputo Protocol of 11th July, 2003, article 14, providing women with rights to family planning in Africa.
The Kirehe District officials acknowledge the existence of this situation. HITIYAREMYE Nathan, the District Health Officer, says that a program of sensitization in partnership with health personnel is planned to bring up the common understanding and awareness of men on this crucial problem.
He said “We planned a continuous sensitisation and mobilisation of men in this district. With health personnel, these men will understand the necessary of family planning program.”
In some cases, the district authority makes contracts with some parents found irresponsible in their families, who create conflicts between them and their partners. This is confirmed by Mr Nsengiyumva Jean Damascene, the Vice Mayor in Charge of Economic Development and Social Affairs (ai).
He concluded that plans of fighting this problem in collaboration with the district’s opinion leaders from the grassroots level have been developed along with social protection scheme, creation of anti-violence clubs and initiating parents’ forums at grassroots level.