Tanzania’s decision to suspend family planning advertisements by a US-funded project is deplorable, according to Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Seif Magango.
In a communiqué responding to the news, Magango said the Tanzanian authorities must immediately stop obstructing access to sexual and reproductive health services and end the intimidation of anyone providing information about such services – be they health workers, journalists or activists.
On September 9, President John Magufuli publicly cautioned Tanzanians from using contraceptives, saying that the people going for family planning options were “lazy”, accusing them of not wanting to work hard and trying to avoid the responsibility of feeding their children.
On September 19 2018, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children in Tanzania banned the airing of all family planning advertisements on radio and television pending further notice.
Consequently, Magango called on the government to repeal any laws, policies or other barriers to the services and information women and girls need for a healthy life.
“This includes regulations that make it legal for pregnant girls to be expelled from school. The authorities have an obligation to ensure that every Tanzanian can enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights without fear, coercion or discrimination,” Magango said.