Tanzania suspends US-funded family planning ads on radio, television

Thursday September 20 2018

Tanzania's President John Magufuli

Tanzania's President John Magufuli. In a speech on Sunday, the president urged Tanzanian women to "give up contraceptive methods" insisting his country needs more people. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By REUTERS
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Tanzania has suspended broadcasting of family planning advertisements by a US-funded project, a health ministry letter showed, a fortnight after President John Magufuli said family planning was for those “too lazy to take care of their children”.

The letter signed by the permanent secretary in the ministry covering health and gender issues asked the head of FHI 360, a US-based non-governmental organisation, to immediately stop airing advertisements under a project called Tulonge Afya (Let’s speak health).

“The ministry intends to revise the contents of all your ongoing radio and TV spots for family planning, thus I request you to stop with immediate effect airing and publishing any family planning contents in any media channels until further notice,” the letter, dated September 19, said.

A source at the health ministry who did not wish to be named confirmed the letter’s authenticity.

On September 9, Magufuli expressed his doubts about family planning.

“If you cannot work then opt for family planning but if you can work hard why family planning?” he posed.

“Let me tell you in front of the minister of health who is always advocating for family planning, go to farm, work hard … if you have enough food then give birth as you can,” he said during a tour in central Tanzania’s Simiyu region.

Officials from FHI 360 and USAid Tanzania office did not immediately respond when Reuters sought comment.

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