Planning births ensures survival

It is very important for me to talk to you about family planning. This is one way to ensure good health and a better future for children. In fact, it is very important to know that family planning is one of the most effective ways to protect the lives and health of many children.

A high proportion of deaths of young children occur in families which have had more than 3 births within 2 years, or where the mother is less than 18 years old.

It is often tradition, religious beliefs, or ignorance which prevent families from controlling or limiting births. Some religions forbid parents from limiting births. In other cases, the problem is that parents do not know that family planning can have many advantages. It should be understood that when births are unplanned there are risks:

• Abortion
• Deaths of children and their mothers
• Health problems
• Complications related to childbirth
• An increase of poverty in the household and therefore child malnutrition
• Children missing lessons due to the the fact that their parents lack the means to send them to school

Additionally, failing to plan families contributes to a population explosion.

Planning and spacing births promotes good health, good education and good child nutrition. When the number of children in a home is smaller, parents can more easily dedicate the time and resources needed for good nutrition and education.

It is for all of these reasons that I recommend parents to recognise the opportunity to plan births, regardless of their religious and traditional beliefs. If you love your children and want to see them grow up healthy, this is the best way.

Dear political, traditional and religious authorities, remember that articles 6 and 24 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child provide that the child has a right to survival, to development, to health and to medical services. Think of the future of the community and your heirs, and widely disseminate child spacing of at least 2 years.

Photo : UNICEF RDC 2014 Benoît Almeras

Translated from French by Heather Robinson

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Hugues est parlementaire des enfants à Bukavu, dans la province du Nord Kivu. Il étudie à l'Institut Bangu en section littéraire et rêve de travailler pour l'enfance, car l'enfant est toujours victime. Il s’est engagé dans le club de paix de chez lui et aime beaucoup son adage "qui aime la paix prépare l'enfant et non la guerre".

Hugues is a children’s parliamentarian in Bukavu, North Kivu. He studies in the literary section of the Institut Bangu and dreams of working for childhood, because the child is always a victim. He has joined the peace club in his neighbourhood and very much likes his motto “whoever loves peace prepares children not war”.

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