For Immediate Release
U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Sandra Clark represented the United States at the launch of a national, 10-month communications campaign to promote family planning in Senegal.
Unveiled under the slogan moytou nef (“avoid closely spaced births” in Wolof, the major local language of Senegal), the campaign seeks to create a positive environment in which women are encouraged to use modern contraceptive methods to meet their reproductive health needs through mass media as well as community based outreach activities carried out by community based associations and health agents.
The campaign supports the Senegalese national strategic plan to increase contraceptive prevalence in Senegal and is intended to support key investments by the Ministry of Health and Social Action and partners, primarily the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund, to expand delivery of quality family planning services.
“This campaign is an important step in maintaining momentum and to achieving results for Senegal’s national family planning program,” Ms. Clark said. “Every dollar invested in family planning can save governments up to four times as much on spending for health care, housing, water and other public services.” Through USAID, the United States is contributing $800,000 (400 million francs CFA) to the campaign.
USAID implementing partner, ADEMAS, is coordinating the campaign. ADEMAS is a Senegalese NGO which is developing, with the government and technical partners, an integrated campaign that reinforces consistent, harmonized messages across several communication channels. It will tailor certain messages to woman but also to men, who often hold final decision-making authority in Senegalese households and may oppose the idea of family planning based on cultural and religious norms.
An advocacy effort with religious leaders to speak with their peers and communities about the importance of caring for one’s family and clarify any misperceptions about birth spacing and religion will also play a key role in the campaign.
At the launch, Imam Tahir Gaye of the Islamic Population Network announced that Islam asks that men take care of the health of their wives and children and confirmed “the legitimacy of family planning is not cause for debate since leaders throughout the Islamic world favor it.”
Minister of Health Professor Awa Marie Coll-Seck said the campaign’s goal to increase the use of contraceptives by just 15 percent in the next two years would reduce maternal and child mortality rates by a quarter. The matter is urgent, she said, since statistics indicate five women die every day during pregnancy or in childbirth in Senegal.
According to recent studies, almost 30 percent of Senegalese would take advantage of modern methods of family planning but do not have access to these products and services.
Last updated: December 11, 2013