Over a thousand people turned up at the National Family Planning Launch in Tembisa, Johannesburg today. The launch is being spearheaded by the Department of Health and specifically the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in partnership with various civil society organisations and international development agencies.Also in attendance at the launch was the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini as well as the Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize as well as the the programme director, Deputy Ministyer of Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa. Addressing the audience with a vote of thanks was the Mayor of Ekuruleni, Mr Gungubele.
The launch follows the revision and dissemination of the Contraceptive and Fertility Planning Policy and Service Delivery Guidelines. The campaign operates under the theme My Responsibility, My Choice, Our Future – I choose dual protection. It aims to provide information and services to South Africans about various methods that prevent HIV, STI’s and pregnancies. It promotes dual protection which says that if people have sex they must use a condom and a second method of protection.
The South African government has introduced a new method called the sub-dermal implant, which is a new long acting contraceptive device. This highly effective device is a small thin flexible plastic rod about the size of a matchstick. It is inserted under the skin in upper arm and can be removed at a later stage. This long-lasting method works for up to three to five years depending on the type of implant.
Speaking at the launch, Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, Dr Julitta Onabanjo, commended the leadership of South Africa, in particular the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
She added that “Family Planning is the most important, life-saving intervention you can provide to a girl or a woman.”
Speaking at the launch the Minster of Health reiterated that “It gives women freedom to control their own lives. It can be taken out any time and if they want (fall pregnant) it only takes a few weeks to conceive”
Explaining the dual protection approach, the minister told the crowd that even if they used contraception they still had to use a condom.
The event ended with a performance by the South African Artist, Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The dignitaries were able to get a few moves in as well.